Kim Leng (r), 30, and her 4-year-old son, who were attacked with acid in August of last year, sit at the Koh Kong provincial court yesterday. Photograph: supplied
The perpetrator of an acid attack in Koh Kong was sentenced in absentia at the provincial court yesterday, the first time a penalty has been meted out since an acid law was passed in December, rights workers said yesterday.
In Kongchet, the Koh Kong provincial co-ordinator for human rights NGO Licadho, said the provincial judge had charged the perpetrator, Ny Thorn, 45, with intentional violence and sentenced him to eight years in prison.
He was found guilty of dousing his fiancée, Kim Leng, 30, and her four-year-old son with acid in August out of jealousy.
After the attack, he had disappeared.
“The verdict of the judge was to sentence the perpetrator to eight years in prison and order him to pay 120 million riels (US$30,000) for compensation and medical treatment to the victim,” In Kongchet said.
Because the attack occurred last August, before the acid law was passed, the perpetrator was charged under the penal code.
But according to Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity project manager Ziad Samman, a heavier sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison could have been levelled under the acid law, which is meant to regulate access to acid and more strictly punish perpetrators of attacks.
“Under the acid law, this would fit under acts of torture, because the lady was burned with acid twice and also her son,” Ziad Samman said.
“The law takes seriously the level of injury and also the intention behind it,” he said, adding that this attack had been “particularly barbaric”.
Nonetheless, the sentence of eight years was a “good result” considering the maximum penalty under the old penal code was 10 years, Samman said.
Victim Kim Leng said she felt the sentence was too lenient, but that it was better than nothing.
“I think it is a very light sentence given to the perpetrator, eight years, but it’s better to accept this verdict than to be denied justice,” she said.
“I am still worried about my security, and I am not sure yet whether I can live in the same province or if I should move to another place.”