A 45-year-old man was allegedly tortured to death by police while in detention in Battambang province’s Mong Russei district, villagers and a human rights group claimed Monday.
The body of Kong La, who died April 1 while in Kear commune police custody, showed signs that he was beaten, said Heng Say Hong, an investigator with local rights group Licadho.
“His body looked like he died because of torture,” Heng Say Hong said Monday by telephone.
Kong Lorn, 35, Kong La’s younger brother, said that two policemen; the commune police chief, Sang Rann, and the commune serious crimes police chief, Rim Long, arrested his older brother.
“His wife heard him shout that he would die soon if the policemen kept hitting him like that,” Kong Lorn said, adding that his brother was perfectly healthy when the police came to arrest him for allegedly beating his wife.
Kong Lorn explained how the day after his brother’s arrest, the police sent his corpse back to his family’s home.
“When I checked his body, it looked seriously tortured. His head and nose were broken; his teeth were lost ,and his ribs were smashed,” he claimed, adding that his family plans to file a complaint with the provincial court.
Rim Long could not be reached for comment, but Sang Rann said that he was “just doing his job” and declined to give any further details, referring all the questions to the district police chief, Kit Heang.
Kit Heang denied that Kong La had been tortured, but said that the victim fainted while in custody before declining to comment further.
However, commune chief Put Keo claimed that Kong La’s injuries and death were the result of an escape attempt.
“He was trying to escape when he fell off his motorbike and onto his forehead leading to a fight between the man and the police,” he said.