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‘Defamed’ Pailin man held on rape charges

A man whose family successfully sued a woman last Tuesday for accusing him of raping her 8-year-old daughter was charged with the alleged rape on Friday, a Pailin provincial court prosecutor said yesterday.

Provincial prosecutor Chum Sensithea confirmed that 23-year-old Sam Ra was arrested and charged on Friday, just days after the court ordered the alleged victim’s family to pay Sam Ra’s family 8 million riel (US$2,000) in compensation for defaming him.

“The suspect was charged with rape and placed into pro­visional detention at the provincial prison last Friday,” Chum Sensithea said.

The family had initially complained to village and commune officials in Pailin town that their daughter had been raped more than once in August and September; however, the complaint was not kept confidential and they were accused of defaming Sam Ra.

Sam Ra’s family subsequently sued the girl’s family, who were ordered in court last week to pay a fine of 1.5 million riel ($375).

Kol Midy, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the court decision ordering the family to pay Sam Ra had outraged them and they had filed complaints to his organisation and the Appeal Court.

He added that following investigations by Adhoc, the group believed the girl had been raped in August and September near her home in Pailin town.

“The girl’s family has said the rape occurred more than once, but the criminal’s family sued the victim’s family for defamation before police could act,” Kol Midy said.

He added that Adhoc’s investigation concluded that the girl had been raped, and the group had urged the provincial court to take immediate action against Sam Ra.

“It is unjust that the 8-year-old’s family is ordered to pay compensation after she was raped,” he said.

After receiving the family’s  complaint, the provincial court issued a warrant for Sam Ra’s arrest last week. A date is yet to be set for his trial.

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