Girl Appears in Court Over Torture Accusations

An 18-year-old who claims she was abused and held captive by a wealthy family in their Tuol Kok villa for eight years appeared at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday to answer questions about her allegations, although the whereabouts of the family remained unclear.

Soeung Hoeung, the patriarch of the family, his wife, Taing Sim Rong, and two sons, Soeung Ratha and Soeung Ratana, are accused of subjecting the girl to sustained physical and mental abuse during her years in captivity. The girl’s 12-year-old brother, who claims he was also held and abused for two years, is due to appear at the court for questioning Tuesday.

The siblings’ lawyer, San Sudalen, said she suspects that charges against the family members have been dropped and that their bodyguard Yim Bunthoeun—who is currently in pretrial detention in Prey Sar prison—is the only person who will be held responsible for the children’s abuse.

A guard at the family home told a reporter last week that he believed the accused family members had fled the country.

“I heard that one suspect was charged, but the other five are either on the run or the charges have been dropped against them,” Ms. Sudalen said Monday.

The 18-year-old outlined her accusations against the family members in court.

“I told the court that Soeung Ratana raped me and his father, Soeung Hoeung, and the others tortured me by slapping and beating me while I was detained in their house,” she said after her court appearance.

She said she was seeking $20,000 compensation from the suspects and hoped they would be sentenced according to the law.

Two of the siblings’ family members have also been summonsed for questioning this week, according to Ms. Sudalen.

Court deputy prosecutor Meas Chanpiseth said outside court he could not say whether or not the family members had been charged because the case was in the hands of Investigating Judge Svay Tonh.

Judge Tonh could not be reached for comment.

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