Woman Says Abuse Drove Her to Kill Husband

Had she not fatally stabbed her abusive husband to death, she herself would have been killed, a 41-year-old Phnom Penh woman testified in court Wednesday.

Lin Kim, originally of Stung Meanchey district, is charged with killing her husband, Mov Vang. Speaking Wednesday from the witness stand in Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Lin Kim said she killed Mov Vang, but said she had no choice. “My husband always hit me, and he wanted to kill me,” she said, facing Judge Thong Ol.

Mov Vang died of stab wounds from a peeling knife June 14, and police have sought char­ges of murder against Lin Kim.

Lin Kim claims she suffers from battered women’s syndrome and should be acquitted. If she wins her case, it would the first time in Cambodia’s history a judge has acquitted a woman for killing her abusive spouse. In a previous case, a woman waited two years on charges of killing her abusive husband, and authorities freed her because she had already served enough time.

Lin Kim has been living in a Phnom Penh women’s shelter with four of her six children since June. Although Cambodia does not have a domestic violence law,  “the ‘battered woman syndrome’ may be taken into account by Cambodian judges as a mitiga­ting factor” in murder cases like Lin Kim’s, according to the legal reference The Resource Guide to the Cambodian Law.

But a decision in this case will have to wait at least two more months, after prosecutors re­quested and won a delay in the trial. Municipal Court Prosecutor Nget Sarat sought the delay because he said that although Lin Kim and her lawyer, Ith Phum, claimed that the police had photographs of the victim, he had yet to receive an autopsy report.

“I cannot proceed further without the autopsy report,” he said.

Thong Ol agreed. “We don’t have enough expert opinion to be able to finish the trial today,” he said, adding that this was his first case dealing with domestic violence, and he found it very complicated.


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