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General’s family jailed

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A brigadier general who was detained, beaten and tortured by his wife and three sons last year threatened to commit suicide in front of Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday as they were sentenced to seven to eight years jail each.

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RCAF General Nuon Pak, 52, a military advisor to the Ministry of National Defence, previously requested charges against the quartet be dropped, telling the court on March 13 that he had forgiven his family.

“I have already withdrawn my criminal lawsuit against my beloved wife and sons … But the court has not considered it and still convicted them to jail,” he told the Post yesterday outside the courtroom. “I was very disappointed and hopeless with this court’s decision.”

General Nuon Pak acknowledged that he had, in fact, been detained and tortured by his wife and sons, but said he only wants his family reunited now.  

“To help my wife and children from their imprisonment, I am now ready to … do everything for them. I dare to go into prison to replace them. And I also dare to commit suicide to exchange with their freedom,” he said.

Ngin Chantrea Devi, 42, was sentenced to eight years in jail on charges of cruelty and torture, while her three sons – Panh Sihana, 25, Panh Dararith, 23, and Panh An An, 20 – were sentenced to seven years each as accomplices.

Judge Heang Sopheak added that the implements of torture collected during the quartet’s December 10 arrest, including rope, locks, sticks and a meat cleaver, were “to be destroyed”.

At the time, the general said his family had detained and tortured him so he would sell his US$80,000 property in Ratanakkiri province and give them the proceeds. 

Ngin Chantrea Devi decried the ruling yesterday, shouting “it is injustice” as she was escorted from the courtroom.

She said she will appeal.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at buthreaksmey.kongkea@phnompenhpost.com

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