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Police Continue Interrogation Torture: Expert

Cambodia’s legacy of violence is continuing to manifest itself in the penal system, leading to a high number of abuse cases of suspects and detainees, a rights expert said Thursday.

Police officials are following the example of those who have gone before them, using violent interrogation tactics, and they lack training on the proper questioning of suspects, said Chhiev Huor Lay, a senior prison researcher for the rights group Licadho. And the abuse occurs with impunity, he said.

“Torturing for answers results in poor justice, because when a person is hurt, he will say anything to avoid a beating,” Chhiev Huor Lay said, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

In 2008, there were 85 cases of reported torture in police interrogation, including one female, he said. In the first 8 months of 2009, there have been 42 reported cases, including three women.

Cambodian and international law are both designed to protect prisoners from torture in interrogation, but Chhiev Huor Lay said he had found that suspects often feel they deserve to be tortured because they’ve committed a crime.

As a result, many instances of torture go unreported.

“They are afraid of revenge [from police], and that no one can find justice for them,” he said. “That’s why they don’t file a complaint.