Acid Attack Trial Concludes; Verdict Expected Next Week

The trial of a village chief’s wife, son and nephew accused of killing a woman and her 3-year-old granddaughter in an acid attack in Kam­pot province ended Wednes­day, though the victims’ family will have to wait until next week to hear the verdict, court officials said.

Mao Yon, her son Mom Ton and her nephew Chak Heng are ac­c­used of attacking 48-year-old Thorm Sareoun and her grand­daugh­ter Thai Tim on Jan 16, 2008 in what police called a revenge at­tack over an illicit affair supposedly between Ms Sareoun and Mao Yon’s husband. Her husband, Mon Touch, is the chief of O’mkak village in Angkor Chey’s district’s Dam­bok Khpos commune.

Police arrested Mr Ton in Jan­uary of this year but his mother and cousin have so far eluded pol­ice and were tried in absentia Wednesday.

“As lawyer for the victim’s family, I ask the court to give the three life sentences and pay the victim’s family [$7,500],” attorney San Sou Dalen said by telephone. “The verdict will be announced Tuesday.”

Kampot Provincial Court Pros­ecutor Chum Som Ban dec­lined to comment Wednesday on the case.

Judge So Seng said that he and the other two judges who heard the case must confer before the ver­dict is announced Tuesday.

“You will learn that day if we need more investigation or we sentence him,” he said. “We cannot tell right now.”

Jason Barber, a consultant for lo­cal rights group Licadho, said that it remains to be seen whether justice will be done in the case, noting that two of the suspects are still at large.

“Acid attacks are no different from other crimes. If the person is rich or well connected it’s rare for them to be prosecuted,” he said. “It’s unusual for the son of a village chief to be on trial but we have not seen the result of that trial.”

At the time of the attack both victims were asleep in their home when highly corrosive acid was poured on them.

Thai Tim died Jan 17, 2008 about one day after the attack and Ms Sareoun died Feb 8, 2008 after sustaining burns over 30 percent of her body.

(Additional reporting by Tim Sturrock)


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