Appeal Court Upholds 3 of 4 Convictions in Gang Rape Case

The Court of Appeal on Monday upheld seven-year sentences handed down to three young men by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in February for gang-raping a 15-year-old girl in Phnom Penh last year, and acquitted a fourth suspect, who was never arrested.

“[The court] upholds the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s verdict on February 21, 2013, for rape…[but] has decided to acquit Chea Chhun­ly for rape, and has canceled the com­pensation due from Chea Chhunly and canceled the arrest warrant for [him],” presiding Judge Nguon Im said.

Horn Hong, 20; Pich Sideth, 22; Tith Sokkhey, 20; and Chea Chhunly, 21, were charged on May 1 last year with gang rape after the parents of the victim filed a complaint with local authorities in Sen Sok district.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced the four men each to seven years in prison on February 21 and ordered them to pay compensation of 10 million riel, or about $2,500, to the victim’s family.

Kin Vibol, the victim’s lawyer, said Monday that the verdict acquitting Mr. Chhunly was acceptable as the victim had said he was not one of the rapists.

Sourkea Limdara, the lawyer for Tith Sokkhey and Pich Sideth, criticized the verdict, claiming that medical tests had showed that the victim was still a virgin.

“My clients have stopped believing in the courts, and they might not appeal to the Supreme Court,” he said.

Separately on Monday, two men were arrested for raping a 14-year-old girl in Pur Senchey district.

Kakab commune deputy police chief Touch Ty said Doeun Chem, 21, and a 17-year-old were arrested after the parents of the victim filed a complaint on Saturday night.

Mr. Ty said that the alleged rape had occurred as the girl was on her way to the shop around 9 p.m. Saturday.

“After being arrested, the suspect Mr. Chem admitted that he had raped the victim following an agreement, but [the 17-year-old] has denied that he had raped the victim,” he said.

The two are due to be charged at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court today.

© 2013, All rights reserved.