Suspect Commits Suicide in Preah Sihanouk Prison

A suspect in the custody of the Preah Sihanouk provincial police committed suicide at the police station on Friday, police said Sunday.

Chhuon Ratha, 35, who was arrested that morning on accusations he attempted to rape his 13-year-old stepdaughter, was found hanging from a towel at around 12:30 p.m., according to provincial penal police chief Nouv Savuth.

“Around 12:15 p.m. the suspect requested our police to let him take a bath in the bathroom, and a police official provided a towel to him,” Mr. Savuth said.

“Unfortunately, the suspect took his towel to commit suicide. About 15 minutes later, the police opened the door and saw the man hanging by his neck from a towel under the roof of the detention room.”

Police brought him to the provincial hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival, Mr. Savuth said. Chhuon Ratha had been scheduled to appear at court Friday.

Se Reaksmey, a prison researcher for rights group Adhoc in Preah Sihanouk, said police made a “technical error” in leaving the suspect alone with a towel.

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