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Accused midwife to countersue

A MAN who filed a complaint over the weekend against a midwife whom he accused of botching an abortion procedure that killed his wife said yesterday that he had been threatened with a defamation countersuit.

Hiv Leng has accused the woman of performing the procedure at her home in late June despite being both unregistered and untrained. His wife, 40-year-old Khem Tha, died on July 20.

He said yesterday that his neighbours had warned him that the family of the accused was collecting thumbprints to be used as evidence in a defamation case against him.

“My neighbours told me when they were asked to print their thumb, but I told them that I do not care about that. I will still keep suing the midwife,” he said.

He noted that the family had previously proposed a US$2,000 settlement, an offer he refused.

“I need justice for my wife,” he said. “I don’t need money and I will go to the court on Thursday for questioning and also to urge the court to charge the woman quickly,” he said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday launched an investigation into the case after Hiv Leng filed his complaint.

He has asked for the midwife to be punished in accordance with the law and for “at least” $10,000 in compensation.

The midwife could not be reached to provide a comment yesterday.

Heng Rami, a clerk at the court, said the midwife would be summoned for questioning on Friday.

Under the 1997 Law on Abortion, untrained abortion providers who perform a procedure that results in a woman’s death can face up to 10 years in prison.

Virya Koy, deputy chief of nursing at the Health Ministry’s Midwifery Office, said yesterday that it was “unlawful” for people to perform abortions in their homes, and that pregnant women who sought such services should discuss their options with registered health professionals at a
hospital.

He said that a registry of trained midwives was not yet available, but that the Health Ministry was working on producing one, and that it might be available as soon as the end of the year.

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