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.