The Court of Appeal yesterday heard pleas for reduced sentences for five men sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for a gang rape in 2013.
According to testimony read in court by judge Chay Chandaravan, construction worker Long Ravuth met with the victim, a 17-year-old factory worker, at Kambol Market, where he asked for her phone number and allegedly persuaded her to leave with him.
When they arrived at a nearby forest, Ravuth raped her before calling on his friends, fellow construction workers Ya Sokhum, Phan Chanthoeun, Sor Thun and Chhorn Channit. Channit subsequently escaped and was tried in absentia.
The suspects pled guilty to the offence in the lower court, but yesterday sought a reduction in the sentence on the grounds that the victim had consented to intercourse.
However, the trial prosecutor deemed this version of events inconsistent – a view which was reiterated at appeal by the presiding judge. “It was unbelievable,” said Chandaravan. A verdict is due on September 28.