Human rights workers filed a complaint with Pursat Provincial Court on Friday accusing a local police officer of shackling and beating a heavily pregnant woman after she was arrested on suspicion of theft on Monday, police and rights workers said.
Police in Krakor district are also investigating the allegations against Nhiek Sokea, Kbal Trach commune police chief, but believe the claims may be exaggerated, said district police Chief Bin Vanna.
“Yes, there was abuse but not seriously. He just grabbed the woman hard while drunk,” Bin Vanna said of Chief Nhiek Sokea. “The case is in the hand of the court, so wait and see,” he said, adding that Nhiek Sokea is still at his post.
Speaking from her bed at the provincial hospital, 23-year-old Khem Nim said she was concerned about the health of her eight-month-old fetus following the attack.
“I don’t know what would happen to my baby. The unborn baby has stopped kicking,” she said.
She said she was arrested by Nhiek Sokea on Monday morning on suspicion of having stolen $250.
The officer shackled her left leg to a tree and left her in the sun for five hours, before returning at about 4 pm, she alleged.
Nhiek Sokea swore at her, kicked her three times in the face and once in the stomach while other villagers looked on, she alleged.
She was then taken into police custody, and at 11 pm police took her to a health clinic after she complained about pains in her stomach.
“I am innocent. They made unjust accusations and police tortured me so I want justice,” she said.
Nhiek Sokea and officials at the court could not be reached for comment.
Bin Saroeung, provincial coordinator for local rights group Human Rights Vigilance of Cambodia, who filed the allegation along with local rights group Adhoc, called the alleged attack “a serious human rights violation and torture that cannot be tolerated.”