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Bangkok denies torturing Cambodian man

THE Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dismissed allegations by government officials that a Cambodian man detained during antigovernment protests in Bangkok in May was tortured by Thai police, saying there was “no indication” the man had been mistreated.

Last week, Cambodian Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said that Thai police had tortured Cambodian national San Mony Peth, 27, who was arrested on May 19 on suspicion of being involved in an arson attack.

The attack allegedly took place as the Thai military broke up antigovernment Red Shirt protests in the Thai capital, triggering mass looting and acts of arson.

“He suffered from torture before the Cambodian embassy visited him,” Koy Kuong said last week. “He had wounds on his chin and his chest.”

He also said San Mony Peth had been imprisoned despite not being charged with any crime, and that he was “not sure” what San Mony Peth had been accused of.

False allegations
But Thani Thongpakdi, spokesman for the Thai Foreign Ministry, said late Monday night that there was no evidence of San Mony Peth’s having been tortured by police since his arrest. “The Royal Thai Government is fully committed to upholding the principles of human rights,” he said.

“From the information we have received, there is no indication that [San Mony Peth] has in any way been tortured during his detention.”

He also responded to the claim that San Mony Peth had not been charged, saying evidence suggested the prisoner had set fire to the Phra Khanong branch of the Bangkok Bank.

“Based on evidence, the police have charged [San Mony Peth] with arson,” he said.

Thani added that San Mony Peth would receive a fair trial in accordance with the relevant Thai laws, and that his case would go forward in line with “due legal process”.

But Koy Kuong yesterday stood by information he had received from officials at the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok, and reiterated his earlier allegation that San Mony Peth had been tortured before embassy officials visited him shortly after he was detained.

“When they visited San Mony Peth, he had wounds on his chin and his chest,” he said. “We don’t know what he has been charged with yet. It is up to the courts to decide.”

San Mony Peth, originally from Battambang province, had been living and working in Thailand for around five years prior to his arrest.

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