The investigation into the suspected torture of RCAF soldier Ny Sok Rorn took another turn Thursday as RCAF Border Battalion 204 again altered its explanations for his death.
“According to the soldiers, he had problems with the spirits and with seizures and he was drunk and fell down from the bridge,” said Choup Chinda, deputy chief of Kratie provincial police.
According to the rights group Adhoc, soldiers returned Ny Sok Rorn, 35, from the military base to his village Aug 10 in Snuol district.
Upon his return, family and neighbors found him traumatized, only able to repeat the words “handcuffed,” “saw men in paramilitary uniform” and “scared,” Adhoc investigator Chan Soveth said, citing interviews with villagers. Ny Sok Rorn died Aug 18.
According to provincial prosecutor Penh Vibol, a doctor who examined him before he died found his wrists were raw and swollen, apparently having been bound too tightly, and his stomach and ribs bore fresh burn scars, appearing to have been seared with hot metal.
Post-mortem, doctors found dark bruises around the groin and the back of his skull.
Chan Soveth on Thursday reeled off the explanations for his death that have been given so far by Battalion 204 officers.
“Before they said he died from a moto accident. Then they said he died falling from the bridge and from drunkenness…. And now the spirits. So I think it is a pretext to avoid responsibility,” Chan Soveth said.
Meas Sopheap, commander of Battalion 204, explained the marks on Ny Sok Rorn’s corpse on Thursday. “He had a seizure, and the spirits caused mental unrest. Sometimes he had seizures and afterward [the soldiers’ wives] helped by coining him.
“He said he had contradicted the spirits. He asked to go back home and have his wife burn incense to mollify the spirits. The marks on his body were from the coins of the soldiers’ family members,” Meas Sopheap said.
Prosecutor Penh Vibol said that people at Battalion 204 headquarters had told him Ny Sok Rorn was tortured, but were afraid to testify to the court. He said his investigation continues.
(Additional reporting by Porter Barron)