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Thais abused riot suspect, embassy says

THAI police beat and extracted a forced confession from a Cambodian man detained during riots in Bangkok last month, the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok alleged in a statement this week.

In a letter to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated Tuesday, the embassy said that San Moniphet, a Battambang native who Cambodian officials say was arrested by Thai police in Bangkok on May 19 and accused of arson, had been subject to violent treatment in “gross violation of international law”.

“Mr San Moniphet informed the representative of the Royal Embassy of Cambodia who visited him in police custody that he was only standing near the scene and watching the burning building when the police arrested him,” the statement reads.

“He still insisted on his innocence despite being violently forced to confess by the police with beating on his mouth and chest.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said Thursday that Cambodian officials had yet to be informed about charges or a trial date for San Moniphet. Embassy officials in Bangkok, Koy Kuong added, had secured a lawyer for San Moniphet and were helping to prepare his case.

Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi called the allegations from the embassy “very serious” and said the Thai judicial system would settle the matter.

“The case is now subject to judicial process, and we have confidence that all suspects will be given due process and be given fair treatment,” he said.

San Moniphet has lived in Thailand for about five years and had been working at a beverage shop in Bangkok, Cambodian officials have said. He was allegedly arrested outside the shop during riots in the Thai capital that left 89 dead and over 1,900 injured.

Tith Sothea, a member of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers, said after San Moniphet’s arrest that Thai police reportedly confiscated a lighter, pieces of clothing and fuel from the suspect at the scene.

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