On 12th July 2022, Takeo Provincial Court sentenced a 36-year-old Cambodian man to 2 year imprisonment, but suspended 13 months of which, for Indecent Assault committed against an underage girl and ordered him to pay 10 million Riel (Approx. 2,500US$) compensation to the victim.
In September 2021, Bati district police arrested the suspect while the victim was screaming for help. According to police, the suspect offered the victim a ride on his truck from her workplace to her home as she could not find any means of transport to get home. On the way passing through the dark road, the suspect stopped his truck, forcefully grabbed the victim away to a dark place and attempted to rape her.
After the arrest, police contacted APLE to provide immediate psychological support to the victim and assist with the investigation. During the legal proceedings, the victim was supported and represented by a lawyer provided by APLE, working along with APLE’s social team to assess her needs and coordinate the referral to an appropriate care provider.
At the hearing, the suspect confessed to his crime and the judge found him guilty of indecent assault. APLE representative said after the court judgment that although there was a guilty verdict, the sentence was disproportionate to the defendant’s act, and the judge should have considered rape charges, instead of indecent assault. Further, the court decision to suspend more than half of his imprisonment time does not send a deterrent message. The family of the victim was disappointed with the whole sentencing and called for a harsh punishment of the man whom they called a rapist.