Court Questions District Police Chief, Student in Rape Case

The Kompong Chhnang Provincial Court on Tuesday questioned a district police chief over allegations that he raped a high school student in his office last month but did not charge the official, who has been suspended pending investigations by the court and National Police.

The 19-year-old plaintiff, who was questioned in court on Monday, has accused Kompong Tralach district police chief Hul Veasna, 42, of raping her in his office at the district police station on July 11 before threatening to kill her entire family if she told anyone about the assault.

“The prosecutor questioned the victim on Monday and questioned Mr. Veasna on Tuesday,” said San Sudalen, a lawyer from rights group Licadho, which is representing the girl along with Adhoc.

Mr. Veasna, who has maintained his innocence and claims that he and the student fell in love after meeting on Facebook, confirmed that he was questioned at length on Tuesday.

“The court summoned me yesterday morning. I went there and the court questioned me until the afternoon,” he said.

“I can’t tell you more than this because I am afraid that I will say something wrong,” he added, referring questions to his attorney, then refusing to provide the lawyer’s name or phone number.

Much Pisith, the lawyer from Adhoc, said that during questioning by the court on Monday, the young woman claimed for the first time that Mr. Veasna also raped her on July 4.

Ms. Pisith said her client told the prosecutor, You Tithvathanak, that Mr. Veasna invited her to a party for the opening of a new branch of the Amret microfinance institution that evening, then raped her after the event.

“He drove her to a guesthouse in [Kompong Speu province’s] Odong district,” Ms. Pisith said. “She didn’t remember the name of the guesthouse.”

The Adhoc lawyer added that she urged the court to issue a warrant for Mr. Veasna’s arrest, arguing that the police chief might attempt to intimidate her client.

Neither Mr. Tithvathanak nor the plaintiff could be reached Wednesday.

Provincial police chief Prak Vuthy said that his officers, who searched Mr. Veasna’s office for evidence on July 20, had forwarded their report to the National Police, where the case was still being investigated.

“The case is not in our hands. Ask the National Police,” he said. National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith could not be reached.

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