In an appeal hearing yesterday, three youths convicted of gang raping an 18-year-old girl in 2011 in Kampot province’s Teuk Chhou district denied ever committing the offence.
The trio – Sin Veasna, 17, Var Than, 23, and Pov Phy, 16 – were part of a group of seven youths convicted for the crime last year. The other four – Seng Ratha, 25, Pov Ty, 15, Sok Dara, 17, and Ly Sokheng, 16 – did not appeal their convictions and were not present.
Ratha and Than were convicted by Kampot Provincial Court to nine years in prison while Veasna, Phy, Ty, Dara, and Sokheng, received sentences of three-and-a-half years each.
The group was charged with gang-raping Ratha’s girlfriend in May 2011, and were arrested a day after the crime when the victim made a police report.
Judge Pol Sam Oeun said that on the day of the rape, Seng Ratha brought his girlfriend, the victim, and the other six defendants to his house.
The group spent the afternoon drinking more than 1.5 litres of Khmer wine, said Oeun.
He added that after their drunken revelry, Ratha brought the victim to a vacant cottage to have sex – while the other six suspects followed, hoping to peek at the couple.
“After having sex with the victim, Ratha had come out from the cottage. He then distributed condoms to the six suspects and asked them to rape [the victim]. The six of them started raping her one by one,” he said.
The group then made a getaway, Oeun said, calling the group’s actions “very inhumane”.
After the rape, the victim tried to commit suicide, but was stopped by her relatives and sent to hospital for treatment.
But during their hearing yesterday, the three present denied committing the crime.
Veasna confessed that he had followed Ratha to watch the couple having sex, but denied taking part in the rape.
“I would like to ask court to drop the charges against me and release me,” he said.
Pov Phy told the court that all he did was go to watch the victim sleep naked.
“I did not rape her. I had just gone to see her at the cottage. I ask the court to release me,” he said. Their verdicts will be handed down on January 21.