This morning, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Cambodian national Som Sopheak for having sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old boy. He was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay 10 million riels as compensation to the victim.
Sopheak was arrested in March by the police of the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Unit. The arrest was result of a four month long investigation by the police and APLE, following the report from the victim’s family.
The boy who Sopheak victimized has been receiving social support from APLE since the offender’s arrest. The process of rehabilitation is difficult, but with assistance he has achieved significant progress and has returned to school this month. APLE is also providing him with legal representation.
Vando Khoem, Deputy Director of Field Operations at APLE, stated:
“While we applaud the Court’s decision to convict the offender, we expected a harsher penalty than the minimum sentence. Sexual offences against children are heinous crimes that can cause long-term damages to the victim, and deserve to be punished with a prison sentence higher than five years.”
Only this year, 25 people were convicted in APLE cases – of which 14 are Cambodians. A total of 32 child victims received justice from Cambodian courts of first instance – 16 boys and 16 girls.