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Family out as general changes torture tale

3 Ngin Chantrea

The wife and three sons of an RCAF general sentenced to jail last year for illegally detaining and torturing him were released yesterday after the man claimed he inflicted the brutal wounds he suffered upon himself.

Although he initially sought a criminal case against his family at their sentencing in March last year, brigadier general Nuon Pak begged for leniency and threatened to kill himself by jumping off the court building as they received seven- and eight-year sentences.

He then unsuccessfully tried to withdraw criminal charges in June, saying he was “lonely” without his beloved wife and children.

His wife, 41-year-old Ngin Chantrea Devi, and three sons Panh An An, 20, Panh Dararith, 23, and Panh Sakhana, 25, were convicted of tying the general up in his Phnom Penh home and beating him with a variety of implements, including sticks and a meat cleaver, in a bid to force him to sell family property worth $80,000 and turn over the proceeds.

At the Supreme Court yesterday, judge counsel Kim Sathavy read a letter from Pak in which he “confessed” to fabricating the domestic violence story.

“I hurt myself and caused all the wounds on my head and body. I forced my sons to drop out of school and forced my wife to be a prostitute. All these things are my mistakes,” the counsel said, reading out his statement. Statements from Devi were also read, in which she denied abusing her husband, saying only that she may have at times left scratches on his body after a heated argument.

The counsel, reading out the verdict, said that, in light of the new testimony, there was not enough clear evidence remaining in the case and hence the original verdict would be overruled and the suspects freed.

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