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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Accused rapist returns to taunt victim while out on bail: family

Accused rapist returns to taunt victim while out on bail: family

A MAN accused of rape who was released on bail by Pursat provincial court went back to taunt his victim saying he bribed his way out of jail, family members say.

"He drove a motorbike past my house and teased my sister and me, saying that now he is free from jail and that he paid money for the court rather than paying money to us," said Ken Vuthy, the victim's cousin.

Provincial monitors from the rights group Licadho say the rape took place on October 2, 2008, in Bakan district in Pursat province. The victim, 18, was walking home from a VCD shop approximately 100 metres from her home at 7:30pm when Nov Mal, 24, attacked her.

The victim's mother immediately lodged a complaint with the village chief and the commune police and, on October 3, police arrested the accused, Licadho said. He was sent to court on October 6 where he was detained temporarily on a rape charge.

On January 21, the court released Nov Mal on bail, and he allegedly turned up at the victim's house the following day.

"It is very unjust and shows real corruption exists in the court if they can release a rapist on bail after three months in detention without having a hearing," Kem Vuthy told the Post Wednesday.

"I will travel to Phnom Penh to complain to the Ministry of Justice to seek justice for my sister and to send the rapist to jail to be punished and to pay compensation of eight million riels," she added.

Pursat court Judge In Bopha was unavailable for comment, but his clerk Heng Bun Nin told the Post Wednesday that the suspect had only been released on bail temporarily and that it had no impact on the charge against him, which still stands.

Culture of impunity

But Adhoc and Licadho officials said allowing a criminal out on bail without a hearing negatively affected society's respect for the law.

"Normally in criminal cases the accused cannot be released on bail. This is the first time in Pursat that the court decided to release a rapist on bail," Doeun Sokhim, a monitor for local rights group Licahdo said. "If in all criminal cases this happens, the culture of impunity will increase," he warned.

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