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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Appellants claim confessions were coerced by police

Appellants claim confessions were coerced by police

The Court of Appeal summ-oned three senior anti-narcotics officials for questioning on Friday in connection with all-egations by the appellants that the officials had planted drugs on them, ripped off their cash and jewellery and physically coerced their confessions.

In a further twist, one witness in the appeal claimed that Morn Doeun, who was convicted in absentia in 2011 for working with imprisoned anti-drug czar Moek Dara, delivered the drugs personally. The officials contend Doeun found the drugs in the raid.

The accusations, part of the defence in the original Phnom Penh Municipal Court case last year, have to do with a June, 2011 raid at the Chamkarmon district home of Seng Dy and his wife, Keo Touch.

The couple claim that during the raid, Sang Suthy, chief of the anti-drug office at the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Drug Department, Sar Sophat, chief of the anti-drug unit, and Sophat’s deputy, Chea Sam Oeun, placed a one-kilogram package of methamphetamine in the house.

During his appeal hearing, Dy said that about 3am on the morning of the raid, he was drinking beer with a friend, El Rany, inside his house when anti-drug forces showed up.

He said that while he was opening the door for police to check his house, one of them brought a package of drugs to  his room, then came out and accused him and his wife of drug trafficking. “I was then kicked and beaten brutally by them,” he said.

“They hit my eyes, face and my mouth, and I lost consciousness,” he said, adding that police stole thousands in cash, a watch worth $7,000, a gold necklace and bracelet, a diamond ring worth $1,600 and other valuable items.

All the officials denied bringing in drugs or illegally seizing property, but admitted police beat Dy, saying he had barred officers from entering the home during the raid.

The court charged Dy and Touch with drug trafficking, and sentenced them to five years each. They filed an appeal in August of last year. A verdict is due this month.

None of the officers has been charged, even though the case appears to be related to one of the most high-profile convictions in Cambodia’s anti-drug history.

Rany says he saw Morn Douern, the former deputy chief of the anti-drug unit under Moek Dara, take the drugs into the house.

Rany is awaiting trial on charges that he assisted the couple with drug trafficking.

Douern was convicted in absentia last year to 25 years in prison. Dara is still appealing against many of the drug trafficking and corruption charges that put him away.

Suthy, who led the crackdown, said he “absolutely” rejected the allegations against him and the two other officials, but did say the tip for the raid came from Doeun.

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