The Interior Ministry officially declared Friday that the death of Oum Chhay, an adviser to National Assembly and CPP Honorary President Heng Samrin who was arrested for suspected involvement in an illicit drug laboratory, was the result of suicide.
Mok Chito, Penal Department director for the Interior Ministry, said during a Friday news conference that officials had determined that Oum Chhay, 50, died Tuesday morning from an injury to the back of his head sustained after jumping from the second story of the Anti-Drug Department building.
“In one blink of an eye [Oum Chhay] jumped down and died immediately,” he said, adding that Oum Chhay’s body turned during the 5.2 meter fall from the sitting room of Anti-Drug Department Director Moek Dara’s office, causing him to land on the back of his head.
Oum Chhay, owner of Chhay Chhay Investment, Ltd, was arrested Aug 15 for allegedly aiding the transportation of four tons of chemicals to a drug lab in Kompong Speu province that was raided by police in April.
Mok Chito said no disciplinary action would be taken at this time against the three officers who were guarding Oum Chhay when he died.
Rights groups have expressed doubts over the cause of Oum Chhay’s death, saying that they were prevented from entering the area where he died.
Mok Chito said that rights workers and reporters were kept out of the area so as not to disrupt the investigation.
The Interior Ministry said following Oum Chhay’s apparent suicide that he had twice attempted and failed to commit suicide—once by running head first into a wall and once by electrocution.
Kek Galabru, president of local rights group Licadho, said Friday said even if Oum Chhay did kill himself, the fact that he was already considered a suicide risk should have made the Interior Ministry more cautious while detaining him.
Heng Samrin and Moek Dara could not be reached for comment Friday. (Additional reporting by James Welsh)