Rape Suspect’s Family To File Complaint

The family of a rape suspect who died within three hours of arriving at Koh Kong provincial prison last week plans to file a complaint against the authorities, the family and rights workers said on Tuesday.

Thorng Pann’s family is taking that step “because we don’t believe he died by fainting and falling down,” said his sister, Thorng Bun Sav.

“We are filing a complaint to prevent other inmates from dying the same way,”she added.

Thorng Pann, 41, was arrested Jan 10 for allegedly raping a 7-year-old girl, provincial police chief Tuon Pi­sey said Sunday. He was taken to prison, where he died soon after.

According to Keom Sun, chief pros­­ecutor at the provincial court, a committee concluded that the suspect had died after becoming dizzy, then falling over and banging his head in the prison bathroom. Keom Sun said that two bruises were caus­ed by the fall, and others were caus­ed when prison guards pinched him to try to ease pain in his muscles.

But since the police investigation was not conducted at the scene of Thorng Pann’s death but afterward, their conclusions may not be accurate, Chan Soveth, investigator with the rights group Adhoc, said on Sunday. Adhoc, he said, suspects that death may have been due to Thorng Pann having been beaten up —a pos­sibility that officials de­nied.

Adhoc and rights group Licadho are helping the family prepare the complaint, which will be filed against the authorities, not a particular individual, Thorng Bun Sav said. It was not clear where the complaint would be filed or what relief they were seeking.

Hearing of the complaint, Keom Sun said he was not going to interfere with the family’s rights to do so. “But whom are they going to sue? Why don’t they think of the underage rape victim?” he asked.

Ny Chakrya, chief of monitoring for Adhoc, said the rights group plans to interview in­mates at the prison but does not ex­pect the interviews to shed any real light. “We are concerned that police may arrange for only hand-picked inmates to answer questions,” he said.

Svay Thy, a provincial Licadho official, said the group was simply helping the family prepare its complaint, and had made no conclusion as to the cause of death.



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