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Acid attack appeal scheduled

Acid attack appeal scheduled

091023_06
An emotional Ya Sokhim speaks at a press conference after the acquittal of Chea Ratha last month.

AN appeal lodged in the case of a former Military Police official accused of involvement in a brutal acid attack against the aunt of her lesbian lover will be heard at the end of this month, a court official said Thursday.

Chuon Sunleng, deputy president of the Court of Appeal, said the hearing had been scheduled for the end of October, though he could not recall the precise date.

Chea Ratha, former deputy chief of staff of the Military Police, was charged with masterminding the May 2008 acid attack on Ya Soknim, the aunt of beauty queen In Soklyda, with whom she had been romantically involved. The relationship had turned sour earlier that year, and Chea Ratha blamed Ya Soknim for helping In Soklyda go into hiding, according to accounts of the case provided by rights groups.

The attack was allegedly carried out by two men on a motorcycle, who accosted Ya Soknim and poured acid over her face and upper body. She suffered severe burns as a result, losing her right eye and breast.

The Municipal Court acquitted Chea Ratha and five other suspects last month in a ruling that was condemned by rights groups.

Hong Sopheak, the lawyer for Ya Soknim and In Soklyda, said he did not know whether his clients would attend the hearing because they were out of the country.

He declined to comment on the case beyond saying that he believed the Municipal Court’s verdict was unjust and should be overturned.

Keo Ya, the lawyer for Chea Ratha, said Thursday that his client was also out of the country and had not asked him to represent her for the appeal.

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