Rape Suspect Dies Hours After Being Detained

Local rights group Adhoc said Sunday that it is investigating the case of a rape suspect who died with­in three hours of arriving at Koh Kong provincial prison last week.

Thorng Pann, 41, was found with bruises on his body, leading Adhoc to suspect he may have died on Wednesday of injuries sustained following his Tuesday ar­rest, according to Chan Soveth, Ad­hoc investigator.

“We suspect it was the result of being beaten up,” he said, adding that a police autopsy found Thorng Pann had died of natural causes, but that it was not conducted at the scene and therefore may not be accurate.

Keom Sun, chief prosecutor at the provincial court, denied that Thorng Pann was beaten by pri­son guards or police.

“No one beat him up. There was no violence by police,” he said.

He added that a committee has found that the suspect died after becoming dizzy and then falling over and banging his head in the prison bathroom.

“There were two bruises suspected to have been caused from the fall,” he said.

There were further bruises on the body, but these were caused by prison guards pinching the suspect to try to ease pain in his muscles, Keom Sun said.

Tuon Pisey, provincial police chief, also denied that police beat the suspect, adding that an arrest warrant had been issued for him after he was accused of allegedly raping a 7-year-old girl.

“No police beat him. I demote any police who beat any suspect. It is illegal,” he said. “Human rights workers just say what they want to.”

Thorng Bun Sav, the suspect’s younger sister, said there was no evidence that he had raped the girl, adding that when she saw her brother’s body, he had bruises on his belly, waist and head.

“The bruises on his waist look­ed like the marks of electric shocks,” she said, adding that she believed he died after being beaten up, though she was not certain by whom.

“If he [was guilty] he should have been convicted fairly and not just have died like this,” she said. “His death was very suspect and barbarous.”


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