Local human rights group Licadho called for stronger action against torture in a statement marking the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on Saturday, while a top police official on Sunday defended the use of strong-armed interrogation methods.
In the statement, Licadho President Kek Galabru cited the abuse of criminal suspects by police as the most common form of torture.
“The most institutionalized use of torture in Cambodia is by the police, to extract confessions from criminal suspects, punish them or extort money from them for their release,” she said in the statement.
Although police are told not to torture suspects, torture is sometimes necessary, National Police Deputy Director General Sau Phan said Sunday.
“If the police do not torture or punish suspects, they do not tell us the truth or who were their accomplices involved in the case,” Sau Phan said. “Sometimes the police just punch them and then they answer all the questions.”
Om Yentieng, chairman of the government’s human rights committee, placed the onus on Licadho and other human rights groups to fight torture.
“If they have evidence, please let them go to the court and I will cooperate with them,” he said Sunday.