Justice Minister Chem Snguon said Friday he would investigate allegations of the use of force by Military Police to reverse a court decision and re-imprison two murder suspects.
“I cannot keep quiet about this,” Chem Snguon said. “I have to take action to find out…who did the right thing and penalize those who did the wrong thing.”
The minister would not speculate on the guilt or innocence of the two men or whether the actions by the Military Police were proper.
The men—24-year-old Keo Phirak and 26-year-old Yeng Lieng Hy—are currently in T-3 prison, Deputy Military Police Chief Oung Depor said on Friday.
Oung Depor said the two men were re-arrested Thursday and taken to T-3, where they will remain while the case is investigated—a process that could take four to six months.
Keo Phirak and Yeng Lieng Hy are accused of being accessories to the May 27 murder of a military policeman in Russei Keo district.
The suspects appeared in Municipal Court Wednesday but were released for lack of evidence.
According to the deputy prosecutor, court clerks and the family of one suspect, three carloads of heavily armed military police from the murdered man’s unit surrounded the court with guns drawn Wednesday and demanded that the suspects be handed over.
But Oung Depor maintained Friday that police did not surround the court.
One carload of police had been dispatched to the court, he said, because 20 to 30 armed civilians had accompanied a suspect’s family to the building.
He also said that court security “chased” military police officials out of the building.
“I would like things to be settled by the law,” Oung Depor said.
“The court official should not have chased military police officials out from the court and let the suspects go free.”
Oung Depor also said that all steps in the process had been cleared with National Military Police Chief Keng Savuth.
Keng Savuth could not be reached for comment Friday.