Suspect Dies in Cell; Police Accused of Negligence

Human rights groups have ac­cused police of negligence following the death of a suspected thief who was in police detention Mon­day evening.

Bun Vanna Rith, 23, allegedly snatched a gold necklace from a woman in Russei Keo district Sunday evening, but was caught and beaten by bystanders, district police officer Sy Thuon said Wednesday.

The “victim shouted for help, and then people caught and beat the suspect,” Sy Thuon said.

He said officers took the suspect to Preah Kossamak Hospital for treatment.

On Monday night, however, Bun Vanna Rith was removed from the hospital, with a doctor’s approval, to Russei Keo district police station, where he was later found dead in a cell, Sy Thuon said.

Russei Keo district police Chief Chey Soseila referred questions about the case to Sy Thuon.

Mun­icipal Police Chief Touch Naruth could not be reached for comment.

Cambodian Center for Human Rights investigator Suon Bun­thoeun said that Bun Vanna Rith’s death was a human rights violation.

Am Sam Ath, Licadho technical supervisor, said the suspect should not have been taken from the hospital.

“Each human should have the right to treatment when they are sick, even though they are a suspect or a prisoner,” he said.

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