A group of 12 inmates at Kandal provincial prison were on Monday charged with murdering a fellow prisoner.
Major General Chath Sineang, chief of the provincial prison, identified the victim as 31-year-old Muth Lina, a farmer from Sa-ang district’s Koh Kael commune.
Mr Lina was arrested for “intentionally causing damage” on December 12 and temporarily detained in prison awaiting trial.
However, he was found dead in his prison cell on December 30 at about 5am.
Maj Gen Sineang said the 12 prisoners were charged with murder after an investigation into the death found they had faked Mr Lina’s suicide.
They claimed he was killed after committing suicide by jumping off a five-metre high water tank in the prison grounds.
However, the investigation revealed the victim was in fact beaten to death by the 12 inmates.
“The victim did not die after jumping off the water tank,” Maj Gen Sineang said
“He was beaten by the 12 prisoners in the cell.”
According to confessions from the suspects, Mr Lina had been causing trouble in their prison cell on the night of December 29.
They said he was talking loudly, refused to go to sleep, and stepped on other prisoners’ legs, leading to an argument between inmates.
The 12 prisoners attacked Mr Lina, leading to his death as a result of serious injuries.
Tin Sochetra, spokesman for Kandal Provincial Court, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
According to court documents, the 12 prisoners were charged with intentional acts of violence under aggravating circumstances in addition to their previous charges for theft and drug trafficking. They were each facing an extra two to 15 years in prison if convicted.