Adolescent Boy Jailed for Rape Seeks Appeal

The lawyer for a Svay Rieng province boy serving a 15-year sentence for raping a 9-year-old girl in 2005 has appealed for his release, saying the boy was only 12 at the time of his conviction.

But Puthirith, a lawyer with Legal Aid of Cambodia, said Wednesday that he met with Hanrot Raken, prosecutor general for the Appeals Court, last week to push for the boy’s release. The boy  faces 15 years in prisons, the minimum sentence for rape of a minor.

“I do need the Appeals Court to release my client,” he said. “We got confirmation from the midwife, local authorities and [the boy’s] school books to prove that the boy was a 12-year-old when he committed rape” in Svay Chrum district, he said. “He really is too young to be in prison.”

According to Article 14 of the UNTAC law, children under 13 cannot be detained by the courts or imprisoned.

The provincial office of local rights group Adhoc, which investigated the case, says that documents presented to the court at the time of the boy’s trial showed that he was 15 and therefore old enough to be detained and charged. Koeut Phally, provincial Adhoc monitor in Svay Rieng, added that the boy’s father confirmed the convict was 15 at the time of the rape.

Ly Vuoch Leng, president of the Appeals Court, could not be reached for comment.

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