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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Licadho to probe death in custody

Licadho to probe death in custody

HUMAN rights group Licadho is investigating the death of a man in police custody in Battambang on Thursday, the group said.

Kong La, 49, was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence while drunk at home in Battambang's Kear commune.

Commune police took Kong La to Mong Russey district police station, and the following day returned his body to his family. Neither the district police chief nor the commune police chief would comment on Kong La's death, and both hung up when contacted by the Post.

Kear commune Chief Put Kao told the Post Sunday that he was not present during the incident but said the village chief had reported it to him.

"He said there was a fight between two commune police and [Kong La], who refused to accompany them," Put Kao said. "The police put him on their motorbike and were taking him to the district police station when he fell from the bike and hit his head. He was bleeding but not unconscious."

Put Kao said he did not know the cause of death but dismissed suggestions that police had beaten or tortured Kong La.

Licadho's provincial coordinator Sun Tek said the cause of death was not clear. "However, the victim's younger brother lodged a complaint saying his brother had been tortured, and that the police claim that he had committed suicide by hitting his head against the wall was untrue."

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