Brick worker accuses military officials of ‘torture’

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Van Chhay Ly (right), who works in a brick workshop in Samrong district’s Samrong commune, alleged that the commander and deputy commander of the military’s Brigade 4 assaulted and illegally detained him on July 31 at a military base for five hours after he refused to transport bricks. Facebook

An Oddar Meanchey province brick worker told The Post on Wednesday he was set to file a court complaint against the commander and deputy commander of the military’s Brigade 4 after they allegedly assaulted and illegally detained him.

Van Chhay Ly, 27, who works in a brick workshop in Samrong district’s Samrong commune, alleged that Major General Sorn Sea and Brigadier General Chan Ny – the commander and deputy commander of Brigade 4 respectively – assaulted and illegally detained him on July 31 at a military base for five hours after he refused to transport bricks.

Chhay Ly said on the day in question, he and four colleagues transported 15,000 bricks to depot owner Dam Vyraseth in Boeng Beng commune’s Chang Kran Yeak, as specified in the job order.

But when he delivered the bricks to the designated location he was met by Sea, who was purchasing the bricks from the depot owner.

Sea then demanded he leave 7,000 bricks at the agreed location, but then deliver 5,000 bricks to a military base and a further 3,000 bricks to a third location.

Chhay Ly then phoned the brick workshop’s owner, who told him to drop all the bricks at the agreed location. A dispute then occurred between Chhay Ly and Sea, with Ny and three soldiers arriving in a car to take the brick worker away to a military base.

“I asked Sea playfully ‘what is your rank? Why do you dare to call my boss stupid?’ A while later, Ny arrived in his car with three soldiers and told me to drive with them to his military base, but I refused.

“Then, Ny grabbed my shirt collar, slapped my face and ordered his soldiers to carry me into the car and drove me to the military base. Sea tortured me by making me kneel on gravel and ordered his three soldiers to kick me.

“He [Sea] then took a long round stick to beat me with on my left shoulder three times, leading to the stick breaking. Then, he took a part of the broken stick to hit my head and caused a serious injury,” Chhay Ly said.

Chhay Ly said Sea then ordered his soldiers to test his urine for drugs.

“I did not worry about the urine test as I have never used drugs. But they tortured me and starved me. They did not even allow me to drink water. It was only in the afternoon when my mother and my boss, together with local authorities, arrived that they released me,” he said.

Sea declined to comment to The Post regarding the allegations. But on Monday, he was quoted by a local news outlet as saying: “My soldiers slapped him once and knocked his head as he used abusive and rude language towards us. There was no torture as alleged.”

Srey Naren, the coordinator for rights group Adhoc in Oddar Meanchy, told The Post on Wednesday that he had been contacted by the victim and was preparing documents to file a complaint in court.

“After being tortured, he was seriously sick and was sent to Siem Reap provincial hospital. As a result, the doctor said that his injury was serious and affected his brain,” Naren said.

He claimed that unsuccessful attempts were made by the accused to get the victim to withdraw his complaint by offering compensation.