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Police beat husband to death, widow says

Police beat husband to death, widow says

The widow of mentally ill man, who she alleges was beaten to death by military police in Koh Kong province, has filed a complaint to the rights group Licadho seeking their help in identifying the specific perpetrator.

On Friday afternoon, Pen Vantha reportedly stole an AK-47 assault rifle from a sleeping military official and was then arrested after he began firing the weapon in the air repeatedly on Saturday.

Prak Morn, 39, said yesterday her husband was then beaten to death for no reason at all in Koh Kong province’s Sre Ambel district.

“When I found out my husband was arrested and detained, I told the military officials don’t torture him or do something bad to him because he had mental problems, but unfortunately they beat my husband to death,” she said.

“I don’t know why they beat my husband until died. He did not do anything wrong.”

But Koung Sunly, Sre Ambel district military police chief, said Pen Vantha had fled from police but was then beaten to death by villagers and port workers, not his officials.

“They beat the man to seriously injure him and they attempted to beat him to death, but I stopped them and then I took the man to referral hospital and brought him back to my office because the doctors asked me to help him, but he died about 4:30am on Saturday,” he said.

He said Pen Vantha had shot at him and that he had subsequently found a letter from the Kampot provincial hospital confirming the deceased man suffered from a mental illness.

“I don’t care if the victim’s wife sues us, it is her right, but we did not beat the man,” he said.

In Kongchit, Koh Kong provincial coordinator of the rights group Licadho, said he was investigating, adding that a psychiatrist at Preah Kosamak hospital had said it was unclear whether or not Pen Vantha actually suffered from a mental illness.  

“I will go down to the scene to investigate this case because this case is still unclear, and I will ask the victim’s wife to file a complaint to the court if we find as what she told us,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at [email protected]