A senior Siem Reap military police officer is being investigated for his role in connection with the beating of a man who died from his injuries earlier this month.
The Ministry of Justice issued a letter Monday to the Defense Ministry and the national military police commander, saying the provincial court will question Nhim Sela, a Siem Reap deputy commander of military police, on his alleged role in the beating of Um Sombo, who died Oct 5.
Rights workers in Siem Reap confirmed that the case is under investigation, but they do not consider it politically motivated. Last month, Nhim Sela reported that Second Prime Minister Hun Sen was a safe distance from a rocket attack on a CPP motorcade.
Provincial police and rights workers said Thursday that the beating occurred March 18 in a Siem Reap night club.
Nhim Sela became angry when a drunken Um Sombo greeted the deputy commander, police and rights workers said. Um Sombo slapped Nhim Sela on the head. Nhim Sela grew enraged and beat Um Sombo with his fists, police said. The deputy commander told subordinates there to arrest and take the victim to military police headquarters.
“In fact, the victim was very seriously beaten” and his wounds were life-threatening, said Siem Reap’s deputy police chief in charge of crime, Tann Chay.
But Prak Chanthoeurn, a deputy military police chief for Siem Reap, said Um Sombo was drunk and provoking bar patrons. “Everyone there was a witness and Um Sombo was out of control and started making trouble first.”
After the arrest, Neou Sam, Siem Reap first deputy governor, intervened and had the victim taken to a hospital, police said.
Nem Sowath, a Siem Reap court prosecutor, said a judge is looking into the case. Based on a complaint filed by the victim’s family, authorities charged Nhim Sela with assault and battery with intention to harm.
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