Local human rights officials have asked Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Cults and Religions to seriously investigate recent allegations that monks at Vongot Borei pagoda, located in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo, detained, beat and tortured as many as four men.
A report by the human rights group Licadho was also sent to human rights action committees in the Senate and National Assembly, detailing events that allegedly took place at the pagoda, near Tuk Thla market on Pochentong Airport road, according to Licadho’s acting director Naly Pilorge.
“We want to keep attention focused on this serious case,” Naly Pilorge said Friday.
The pagoda’s chief monk has strenuously denied the allegations. But Municipal Court Chief Prosecutor Yet Chakriya said last week he is looking into claims from two young men that pagoda monks imprisoned and seriously beat them.
A third youth, found severely beaten and unconsciousness on a roadside near the pagoda, is being treated by medical workers at an undisclosed location in the city, Naly Pilorge said. Human rights workers are also trying to locate the whereabouts of a fourth youth who witnesses say was also detained at the pagoda but has since disappeared.
The search of a small building at the pagoda by human rights workers and prosecutor Yet Chakriya last Tuesday failed to locate the missing youth.
Although investigators claims they heard cries for help from inside the room nothing was found when the room was eventually opened after a refusal to cooperate by the pagoda’s chief monk.
A Licadho worker blasted speculation Friday that the body of a drowned man found in a Kandal province pond last week may be the missing youth from the pagoda.
“There is absolutely no evidence to link this man to the pagoda. We cannot even identify who the [drowned man] is yet,” said the rights worker noting that efforts have begun to try find out who the dead man is.