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Buddhist layman in appeal

Ros Sarin (centre) attempts to cover his face with a newspaper while leaving the Appeal Court yesterday following a hearing. Ros Sarin was convicted last year for sexually assaulting a minor and her mother.

A buddhist layman and his assistant yesterday began a court battle to challenge their convictions for the multiple rapes of a mother and her daughter, who was a minor at the time.

The Appeal Court in Phnom Penh yesterday convened a closed-door hearing in the case of Ros Sarin, who founded two temples – Wat Phnom Reap and Wat Sovan Thormareach, both of which are located in Phnom Penh.

Ros Sarin was sentenced last August to 17 years in prison for the rapes, which occurred between 1994 and 2009. His assistant, Heng Samoeun, was sentenced to 15 years for being an accomplice, and both were ordered to pay a total of 50 million riel (US$12,525) in compensation. Both seek acquittal.

The respondents and their attorney declined to comment outside the court yesterday.

A decision by Judge Pak Chansambo is due on April 12, relatives of Ros Sarin said after the hearing.

Ros Sopheap, the layman’s daughter, called the lower court ruling “unjust” and said the evidence in the case was weak. “Our family can not accept [the sentence]. My dad is a founder who helped Buddhism a lot,” she said.

She also questioned why the women had waited so long to file their complaint.



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