Alleged Acid Attacker on Bail as Acid Law Looms

A suspect remains on bail after allegedly attacking a sleeping mother and her two young daughters in Kompong Cham province’s Choeung Prey district nearly two weeks ago, police and court officials said.

Victims of the eighteenth reported attack this year, according to Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity data, wait for justice as the chairman of a committee drafting a law on acid says it nears completion.

Kompong Cham Provincial Court released Oun Sreymab, 25, on bail after her arrest on Sept 13 for allegedly dousing a woman and splashing her children aged 2 and 6, deputy provincial judiciary police chief Chan Hor said.

“She is on bail, but under the court’s eyes,” Mr Hor said, referring further questions to court officials.

Kompong Cham provincial prosecutor Huot Vuthy confirmed that Ms Sreymab had been charged and released on bail, but declined to comment.

Nuon Samin, provincial police chief, said he was not worried that Ms Sreymab would flee while on bail, which was probably given for medical treatment. “She will not be able to flee because she is seriously injured,” he said. “While she doused the woman, the victim realized what was happening and splashed acid back.”

Ziad Samman, project coordinator at the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, said that 21-year-old victim Chory Theary is recovering well, but she said she still wants the perpetrator to go to jail.

Mr Samman said that although the charity did not object to bail for medical treatment, reportedly Ms Sreymab is self-treating at home with her family. “If she has just gone to a relative’s house and not receiving treatment then I don’t see the point in it,” Mr Samman said, noting that acid victims have a real sense of fear if attackers remain in the community.

Chhun Sophea, public relations manager at CASC, said that Ms Theary reported that the suspect contacted her husband to offer $2,000 then $5,000 in return for dropping charges.

“If you do [settle for compensation] what is the point in pushing for the new law to help bring justice?” Ms Sophea said. “Perpetrators often wheel and deal at the lower level” before the case appears at court, she said.

Currently acid violence is prosecuted as ordinary assault or attempted murder.

Teng Savong, secretary of state at the Interior Ministry and chairman for the committee responsible for drafting a law on acid expected to regulate its sale and give life sentences to the worst attackers, said the draft law will be finished in one or two months. “We still need to discuss with the relevant ministries on the draft before we send it to the council of ministers,” Mr Savong said.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights said that many acid attack cases, like those involving rape, do not go to trial, which will limit the impact of the new acid law. “A lot more cases are being settled outside of court not inside,” Mr Virak said. “Both are heinous crimes and need to go through the court otherwise it will undermine the law.”

CASC has recorded 18 acid attacks injuring 34 people so far this year, nearly all of which were in Phnom Penh, or Kompong Cham province where acid is widely used in the rubber industry.

Related Stories

Exit mobile version