Human rights groups on Monday denounced the continued abuse of prisoners inside Cambodia’s penal system, on the eve of a UN torture committee hearing on the country.
Cambodia is a signatory of the UN convention against torture, and it will face its second hearing with the UN Committee Against Torture on Tuesday.
But the practice is still a concern, the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, a coalition of rights and development groups, said in a statement Monday.
The rights group Licadho counted 118 instances of torture in detention in 2009 and another 101 cases in 2010 so far.
The most common forms including beating, crushed limbs, electric shock and threats of family and friends, especially for suspects in police custody, the rights committee said.
Such treatments led to prison sentences between seven and 10 years, said Chan Saveth, an investigator with the rights group Adhoc.
Meanwhile, sentences are handed out without much information from the courts, said Kong Kim Suon, a lawyer for the Cambodian Defenders Project.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the government was committed to preventing torture, saying rights groups were only “making noise” ahead of the UN hearing.
“We have no hope they will say good things from Cambodia,” he said of the statement.
Suon Sareth, secretary-general of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, whose members have sent their own report to the UN torture committee, said the government had made “some” progress on preventing torture.
But leaders have stopped short of making it a national priority, he said.