Rights Group Citing Police Brutality Example

A local rights group on Friday presented a teen-ager allegedly beaten by police in Koh Kong to illustrate the point that police are continuing to beat suspects de­spite vigorous human-rights train­ing in recent years.

But a Koh Kong police official denied the teen-ager had been beaten.

At a press conference Friday, the rights group Adhoc made public the case of 19-year-old Sos Mach, who claimed he was de­tained and tortured by drunken pol­ice for five hours in a Koh Kong jail last month.

“They seriously tortured me as though I’m not a human being,” Sos Mach told reporters.

Sos Mach said he was arrested on Feb 19 with three friends on sus­picion of stealing a motorbike. He said he denied the charg­es, despite being beaten with chains and choked. Po­lice wrapped a blanket around the chains to prevent bruising, he said.

“There was serious nose bleeding and I was coughing up blood when they beat me. Now I am still hurt,” Sos Mach said. “I lost con­sciousness often when I was in jail.”

Similar torture techniques are being implemented by police “nationwide,” said Chan Soveth, an Adhoc investigator.

Since 1995, human rights groups have been holding seminars to teach police the law, democracy and to observe the UN’s universal declaration of human rights. But such efforts have failed, Chan Soveth said.

“The condition of violent interrogation is still there,” Chan Sav­eth said. “There is no change.”

But Koh Kong Deputy Police Chief Tun Pisey denied his police beat the boy.

“We never harm anyone during our police interrogations,” he said by telephone.

National Police Headquarters Chief Mao Chandara said Friday he was not aware of the case.

Mao Chandara said national police officials have trained “low­er police” not to abuse the rights of detained suspects.

“We have no principle to let police do such bad acts,” he said. “But if there is, that would be from certain individuals.”

Police officers have been punished and even fired in the past because they have committed human rights abuses, Mao Chandara said.




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