In Court, Man Denies Rape of 19-Year-Old Girlfriend

A 21-year-old man arrested in March for the alleged rape of his girlfriend denied the charge during his trial at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday.

“I invited her to sleep together, and then she agreed to, but even though she was drunk she was still conscious,” said the suspect, Phon Dara.

“I did have sex with her,” he said. Mr. Dara said that he, his 19-year-old girlfriend and Yin Chan Socheat, a friend, had been drinking palm wine when the three of them decided to venture into a nearby forest with a motorcycle.

He said Mr. Chan Socheat wanted to have sex with the woman and, when she refused, hit her in the mouth and drove away.

Mr. Dara said he had sex with his girlfriend after that. Eav Dany, Mr. Dara’s lawyer, asked the judge to reduce the charge because his client was “too young and still has a future.”

Deputy prosecutor Oum Sopheak said Mr. Chan Socheat remained at large but would be charged as well.

“Dara is charged with rape and Socheat will be charged with violence against a victim or attempted rape,” he said.

The court will resume the trial on July 30.

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