Siblings to Appear in Court Over Torture Claims

An 18-year-old girl who has accused members of a wealthy family of holding her captive for eight years in a Tuol Kok villa is due to appear at Phnom Penh Municipal Court today to answer questions alongside her 12-year-old brother, who also claims to have been held by the family, according to a local NGO.

The siblings have accused Soeung Hoeung, the patriarch of the family, along with his wife, Taing Sim Rong, and two sons, Soeung Ratha and Soeung Ratana, of subjecting them to severe physical and mental abuse during their years in captivity. The girl also accuses Mr. Ratana of raping her.

“They will be sent to court for the first time for questioning, where the defense lawyer will present the case in front of the investigating judge,” said Heng Vibol, president of Our House, a local NGO which has been caring for the boy and girl.

However, none of the four family members accused of abusing the children will appear in court, with both police and staff at their villa saying they were unaware of their whereabouts.

A security guard at the home in Tuol Kok who declined to give his name said last week that he believed members of the family had fled the country.

Mr. Hoeung was present when police raided the house on July 29, but claimed to be too ill to be taken in for questioning and was admitted to a hospital instead. He has not been heard from since. His lawyer, Meas Sithon, repeatedly declined to comment on his whereabouts.

The family’s chef, Ky Tieng, and a bodyguard, Yem Bun Thoeun, were both taken in for questioning at the time. The bodyguard was charged with using intentional violence, exploiting child labor, illegal human detention and using an illegal weapon, while Ms. Tieng was released due to poor health.

Eav Rith, a bureau chief in the Interior Military’s penal police department, said Sunday that he did not know whether the family had fled.

“The police are not aware whether the family members suspected in this case are inside or outside the country,” he said.

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