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Prison Abuse ‘Covered Up’: Monitor


The abuse of inmates and suspects is difficult to investigate and report because police and other penal officers cover it up, a rights monitor said Thursday.

“Most cases happen in police posts and prisons, and [abuse] is covered up by police and prison officials,” said Ny Charya, a leading investigator for the rights group Adhoc, as guest on “Hello VOA” in Phnom Penh.

Some guards allow long-term prisoners to attack newcomers, in order to frighten them upon admittance, he said, adding that any form of physical or psychological torture committed by a public official was against international conventions signed by Cambodia.

Lt. Gen. Khieu Sopheak, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said there were no orders for police to abuse detainees, which is illegal.

“If a case were true, there would be legal action against those who committed [the act],” he said.

Families of detainees can file charges, he said.

Ny Charya said abuse sometimes occurred because police needed to complete a case, but he noted such acts were counterproductive and unjust. Confessions under duress can be recanted, and police must know how to properly question suspects.

The abuse of inmates and suspects is difficult to investigate and report because police and other penal officers cover it up, a rights monitor said Thursday.

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