Man charged with raping girl, filming attack and distributing video; another charged with helping distribute

Kandal Provincial Court on Friday charged two men, one accused of raping a 17-year-old girl and filming the crime and another with helping to distribute the video, a court official said.

Sar Sophoan, 21, was arrested Tuesday at his home in Phnom Penh after a 17-year-old girl told police he raped her, filmed the incident and distributed the pornography, Kandal provincial military police commander Meas Sovann said. Another man, Chea Rithy, 22, was arrested Wednesday by military police for allegedly helping to distribute the video, Mr Sovann added.

Both men are being held in pre-trial detention at Kandal provincial prison.

According to Mr Sovann, the victim told authorities she was raped in a Phnom Penh guesthouse last month by Mr Sophoan, who she said filmed the attack. Mr Sovann added that Mr Sophoan allegedly blackmailed the girl with the video.

“He [Mr Sophoan] threatened to distribute the pornographic video if the girl did not have sex with him,” Mr Sovann said.

The police commander said the girl refused to have sex with Mr Sophoan again, which led to Mr Sophoan and Mr Rithy allegedly distributing the video.

Mr Sophoan’s wife is also accused of threatening the girl with the video, allegedly saying she would distribute the pornography if the 17-year-old did not stop seeing her husband, Mr Sovann said. The police commander said the 17-year-old and Mr Sophoan had a previous relationship before the suspect got married. The two continued to see each other after the marriage, he added.

Prosecutor Ouk Kim Seth said yesterday that although the two suspects have been charged, military police are searching for Mr Sophoan’s wife, who is believed to have helped distribute the video.

Am Sam Ath, senior monitor for rights group Licadho, said filming and distributing pornography tarnishes the honor of Cambodian women.

“This action is inhuman,” he said. “It seriously affects Khmer customs and the honor of Khmer women.”

Mr Ath said Licadho has recorded four cases of homemade pornography being produced and distributed, but added that only two cases have led to arrests.

“The suspects have to be punished by the law,” he said.


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