Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged a grocery shop owner with intentionally injuring a 17-year-old domestic servant who has accused her of torturing him for around two years, a court official and a human rights worker said.
Municipal court clerk Nuon Chamroeun said yesterday that Sao Chanthy, 38, had been charged over an incident earlier this month where she allegedly threw boiling water on her employee Khem Saray, a domestic servant who lived and worked at her house and shop in the capital’s Sen Sok district.
Mr Chamroeun said Ms Chanthy had been placed back in police custody until the court ruled today on whether she would be placed in provisional detention, adding that deputy prosecutor Ek Chheng Huot had recommended pretrial detention.
Local human rights group Licadho claim Ms Chanthy’s abuses went much further than the one incident that has been investigated. They say that Mr Saray and his 14-year-old sister, who also lived and worked at Ms Chantha’s house, were brutally tortured over a long period of time.
In an interview at the municipal court yesterday, Mr Saray said Ms Chanthy started to torture him in 2008, when she used a knife to cut his face. “She hit me with shoes, sticks and brooms,” he said, showing a reporter scars on his body.
“She poked my eyes, she used a knife to cut my face and then she threw boiling water on my right hand, my stomach, my right thigh and my penis,” he said. “I just asked the court, ‘Please do not bail her.'”
Ms Chanthy’s husband, Interior Ministry police Lieutenant Colonel Mich Mey, said yesterday that his wife had never tortured the two siblings, and that throwing boiling water on Mr Saray was the first time she had injured either of them. He added that a traffic accident about 20 years ago had caused his wife to occasionally have “mental problems.”
Licadho’s Technical Advisor Am Sam Ath said yesterday that the charge laid against Ms Chantha was “very light.” “The suspect did not regard the two siblings as human beings, she regarded them as slaves and she did not respect their human rights,” Mr Sam Ath said.