PHNOM PENH —
The Cambodian government has established a committee to investigate the beatings of two lawmakers outside the National Assembly on Monday.
Kong Saphea and Nhay Chamreoun, lawmakers for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, were dragged out of their official vehicles and severely beaten, following anti-opposition demonstrations.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the committee is now calling for witnesses and investigating the facts of the case.
Human Rights Watch has said the assault was strikingly similar to tactics employed by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party in the 1990s. Rights groups said Thursday the committee must conduct a thorough investigation.
“Seeking for the truth is what the public would like to see, and it would benefit all actors involved,” said Chea Vannath, an independent political analyst. “Otherwise, it reflects the authorities inability.”
Ou Virak, head of the think tank Future Forum, said he is awaiting the results of the investigation, but he also said authorities on the scene of the beatings should have arrested the men. Authorities should not need the authorization of the prime minister to do their work, he said.
“If the authorities see someone doing something against the law, they can arrest them,” he said. “What’s the point of establishing a committee case by case?”
Meanwhile, the two lawmakers are recovering in a hospital in Bangkok, where they were visited Thursday by other Rescue Party members.