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Brutality claim follows interrogation in R’kiri

Parents of a youth suspected of stealing a motorcycle have accused a police officer in Ratanakkiri province’s Banlung town of torturing their son during the interrogation process and are demanding $5,000 in compensation.

Koy Pov, 53, the victim’s father, reported that Phorn Tum, deputy police chief of Laban Siek commune, brutalised his son, Pov Pisach, 20, following his arrest.

“They shut the doors . . . He was kicked more than 10 times and his head was pushed against the wall and trampled on,” Pov said.

While his son hung around with a “rough” crowd, Pov said, he still believed the violence was unwarranted. The family filed a complaint to human rights group Adhoc.

According to Chhay Thy, Adhoc coordinator in Ratanakiri, Pisach agreed to become a police informant, but when he did not provide police with information, they became furious and beat him. The suspect had marks on his body following the arrest, Thy said. Adhoc has sent the case to the provincial court for legal action.

“[Cambodian police] are brutal, because they know they can get away with it,” explained Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division. “They see using torture as essential to get a confession that will result in a conviction.”

Tum, the accused officer, said yesterday that he did know about the incident. Banlung town police chief Huot Borey said he was unaware of the situation.

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