Debauchery Suspect To Remain Free: Official

Debauchery suspect Chea So­van­nary, who was controversially re­leased from prison Aug 31 along with her boyfriend, US pedophile sus­pect Terry Darrell Smith, will not be rearrested, a court official said Monday.

Smith, 54, was rearrested Wed­nes­day afternoon near the US Em­bassy and is scheduled to be ex­pelled from Cambodia and deported to the US, where he faces out­stand­ing child sexual abuse charges.

Sihanoukville Municipal Court Di­rector Svay Sisarouth said Chea So­vannary, 26, who is accused of fa­cil­itating her boyfriend’s sexual abuse of two Vietnamese children, will remain free unless she is found guilty at her trial.

“We cannot rearrest her because she was already released from de­tention,” said Svay Sisarouth, who or­­dered the release of both child sex abuse suspects Aug 31. Svay Si­sa­routh said she did not know when Chea Sovannary’s trial would be.

She added that before set­ting a date for Smith and his girlfriend’s trial, she needed to meet with the all­eged victims—two ethnic Viet­na­mese girls aged 13 and 14. The court director said that she had in­vited both alleged victims to meet her Friday, but the NGO caring for the girls did not bring them to the court.

World Hope International confirmed it was caring for the girls, but said it had received no official sum­mons to visit the court. An official with the NGO expressed concern for the girls’ safety but de­clined further comment.

Anti-pedophile NGO Interna­tional Justice Mission, which helped police investigate Smith and his girlfriend, said they would be pe­titioning the Sihanoukville court today for the rearrest of Chea Sovannary.

Khieu Sambo, lawyer for both Smith and his girlfriend, said  Monday that Chea Sovannary was staying with relatives in Phnom Penh.

Mu Sochua, former minister of women’s affairs and now a member of the SRP, said the Sihanoukville court’s handling of the Smith case should be investigated. “I think the Ministry of Justice has to monitor the performance of the judge,” she said.

Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana could not be reached for comment.

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