Officials Differ on Stung Treng Killing Confessions

Officials in Stung Treng province gave conflicting accounts on Friday regarding the confessions of two men charged in the killing of a hu­man rights activist in his home in Se­san district’s Sre Kor commune on July 6.

Stung Treng Provincial Police Chief Nguon Koeurn said that murder suspects Fy Vuthy and Taing Huth confessed to killing Seng Sa­rorn, 45, an activist with local rights group Adhoc, because he was having an affair with Taing Huth’s wife. However, Stung Treng Pro­vin­cial Court Deputy Prosecutor Mann Kham­puon said that the two suspects had not confessed to the killing.

“They never confessed like that,” Mann Khampuon said by telephone, adding that both suspects also recently retracted an early confession attributed to them that they killed Seng Sarorn over a dispute in­volving a boat.

Stung Treng Provincial Court charged Fy Vuthy on July 9 with the killing and Taing Huth was charged the same day as an accomplice.

Chan Soveth, chief of investigations for Adhoc, said that during a July 14 visit to Stung Treng Provin­cial Prison, Taing Huth told him that before the killing occurred he ap­­proached Seng Sarorn about the ru­­mored affair with his wife but de­termined that it had never happened.

Taing Huth also said he confessed to the killing because police tortured him and Fy Vuthy, Chan Soveth added.

Nguon Koeurn said that he did not know why Mann Khampuon’s account of the suspects’ confessions differed from his. He also denied that police had tortured confessions out of the suspects.

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