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U.N. OFFICIAL CLAIMS CAMBODIA TORTURED SOLDIERS AFTER COUP

Thirty soldiers captured in the aftermath of a bloody coup two weeks ago by Co-premier Hun Sen were tortured and forced to drink sewer water while under detention by government authorities, U.N. officials said Sunday.

"We have evidence, which is irrefutable, of systematic torture at a place called Kambol," an official of the United Nations said on condition of anonymity.

"The prisoners were blindfolded and had their hands tied behind their backs for questioning," the official said. "When (their captors) didn't get the answer they asked for, the prisoners were beaten with sticks, belts and the leg of a table."

The U.N. said its information was based on interviews with eight of 30 prisoners who were soldiers loyal to ousted First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

The only water given to prisoners at Kambol came from a sewage pond, the official said.

"They said the water smelled and tasted of fecal matter. Some were forced to drink it while under questioning," the U.N. official said.

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