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Dara case witness says thumbprint coerced

Dara case witness says thumbprint coerced

A key witness in one of the appeal cases of jailed former anti-drug czar Moek Dara told the court yesterday that she had never even met him and was forced by police to sign doctored statements that implicated both of them in narcotics trafficking.

In the fifth of 25 drug-related convictions that Dara is appealing at Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court, presiding Judge Chay Chandarayann accused him of being a “leader of drug criminals”, providing wholesale narcotics to local dealers.

Chandarayann said one of those dealers, 44-year-old Phok Thy, who was arrested with six others in June 2010 while carrying about 8,000 methamphetamine pills, had directly fingered Dara during a confession.

“They both used to take drugs from Moek Dara to sell for him, three or four times. Phok Thy said that Moek Dara was her boss,” the judge said.

But Thy, who is serving an 11-year drug trafficking sentence and is married to a fugitive husband who fled related charges, told the court the police had simply made that up.

“During the questioning at the police office, I was forced by the police to thumbprint a white paper without writing any statement,” she said on the stand yesterday.

“I was also not asked questions relating to Moek Dara at all. I am now wondering why police had written my answers like that?” she added.

Dara also denied knowing Thy and once again denied he was a leader of drug traffickers in Cambodia.

“I think this was a trick of someone else who disliked me, and prepared the criminals’ answers in levelling charges and accusing me,” he added.

The former anti-drug chief was sentenced to life in January after an investigation that netted several senior and low level members of the police force.

The court will continue hearing testimony on October 18. In a released agenda, the court stated that all the appeal cases related to Dara would be finished by October 30.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]

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