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General’s wife drove torture, court charges

General’s wife drove torture, court charges

The wife of an RCAF general who was tortured and detained for almost two months was accused on Sunday of masterminding the brutal ordeal.

Ngin Chantrea Devi, 50, and her sons Panh Sihana, 24, Panh Dararith, 23, and Panh Anh, 19, stand accused of keeping Brigadier General Nuon Pak a prisoner in his own home from October 18 until last Saturday, in a bid to make him sell land worth US$80,000 to pay off a debt.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Sunday charged Ngin Chantrea Devi with cruelty and torture; however, her three sons were charged only with being accomplices to cruelty and torture.

Speaking with the Post on Sunday, Brigadier General Nuon Pak claimed that all four had taken him prisoner, tied him up, beaten him with sticks and chopsticks every day and poured hot water on his back.

Seang Sok, deputy prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said the sons still faced the same prison term as their mother – seven to 10 years – if found guilty.

It emerged yesterday that Brigadier General Nuon Pak’s 88-year-old mother had complained to Adhoc that he was being tortured and detained after a soldier said he had visited him.

Pen Bonna, Coordinator for Adhoc based in Ratanakiri province, said that after receiving the complaint, his office had asked its head office in Phnom Penh to work with the Ministry of Interior’s Serious Penal Police Department.

He said his investigation showed the family owed money to a bank and a number of people.

“Early this year, [Ngin Chantrea Devi] borrowed US$80,000 from a bank in Stung Treng in order to start a business in Phnom Penh, but it went bankrupt,” he said.

“To get money to return to the bank, his wife and sons had forced him to sell land in his birthplace, but he did not agree to it.”  

He said that while Brigadier General Nuon Pak was being detained, he had given $7,000 to his wife and sons, money he had sourced from his mother.