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Torture inquiry launched

Torture inquiry launched

THE Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday accused Thai law-enforcement officers of torturing a Cambodian man detained in a May crackdown on Red Shirt protesters in Bangkok.

Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said 27-year-old San Mony Peth, who remains in Thai custody, “suffered from torture” before being visited by officials from the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok.

“He suffered from torture before the Cambodian embassy visited him,” Koy Kuong said. “He had wounds on his chin and his chest.”

He said that the suspect had not been “tortured” since the first visit, which occurred shortly after he was detained.

A native of Battambang province, San Mony Peth had been legally working in Thailand “for five or six years” and is married to a Thai woman who has cooperated with embassy officials and Thai authorities in order to secure her husband’s release, Koy Kuong said.

San Mony Peth was at first accused of being involved in an arson attack as part of clashes between government forces and Red Shirts that left at least 86 people dead and 1,900 injured. Koy Kuong said yesterday, however, that he was “not sure” what San Mony Peth was being accused of, and noted that he had not been charged with any crime.

The Thai National Human Rights Commission’s subcommittee on civil rights is preparing a report following complaints from San Mony Peth and two other foreign prisoners – Australian Conor David Purcell and Briton Jeff Savage – arrested in the crackdown on Red Shirts.

Subcommittee chairman Dr Niran Pitakwatchara said the report would investigate human rights violations reported by the three prisoners, who he said had complained because “they want freedom”.

“We have tried to define the lack of lawyers, as well as the health of the prisoners and their communications with their families,” he said. “We will call for government officials and police to see” the report.

He did not have the details of Savage’s complaint, but said Purcell had reported abuse at the hands of other prisoners. Purcell “wants to go back to Australia because some injuries happened to him in the prison”, he said. “It was not government officials, it was prisoners who did something to him.”

He added that he did not know when the report would be submitted.

Officials at the Thai foreign and interior ministries either declined to comment or could not be reached.

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