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MPs suspected of murder

THE Ministry of Defense is investigating the torture and execution of two suspected

robbers by Military Police vigilantes in Svay Rieng province.

The two were allegedly murdered by a squad of MPs from Phnom Penh after a military

policeman was killed during a robbery at Bang Ray village in May.

According to human rights investigators one of the alleged robbers was executed in

front of 100 villagers as provincial police attempted to take him into custody.

The investigators said both villagers and local police were threatened with death

if they talked about the incident.

However, the Ministry of Defense began its inquiry July 6 after a human rights group

was approached by provincial authorities seeking justice.

The events leading to the inquiry began when a military policeman stationed in Siem

Riep visited his home village of Bang Ray with his girlfriend.

The MP was shot dead by a robber who stole his watch and necklace. His girlfriend

returned to Phnom Penh and alerted the dead MP's brother.

According to investigators the brother then organized a posse of eight heavily armed

MPs which traveled to Bang Ray on May 16.

They interrogated villagers and were told about a "former" robber, Phan

Samouen.

The MPs waited at Samouen's house and when he arrived handcuffed him and shot him

in the legs. He was then taken to a local pagoda where he was beaten and tortured

before he died in the early morning of May 17.

Witnesses said some members of the vigilante unit stayed in the village to search

for illegal weapons while the others returned to Phnom Penh.

Two days later they returned with the dead MP's girlfriend. On route they stopped

at Kompong Trabek in Prey Veng province where the woman identified Souv Saly as her

boyfriend's killer.

Saly, who was wearing the dead MP's watch and necklace, was arrested and taken to

Bang Ray where approximately 100 villagers were assembled to witness his beating.

Commune authorities summoned provincial police to the village and they demanded Saly

be handed over to them so he could be imprisoned in the provincial jail.

However, according to witnesses, the MPs refused, shouting that provincial authorities

"always release robbers".

One MP then took a bayonet from its sheath and plunged it into the man's head, killing

him instantly.

The MPs then left the village and threatened anybody who revealed the incident with

death.

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