PREAH Sihanouk provincial court on Tuesday found a naval officer guilty of assaulting two teachers and a student who frightened his daughter with a turtle at school, handing him a one-year suspended sentence and ordering him to spend 10 days behind bars.
General Keo Monysoka, deputy commander at Ream Naval Base, was found guilty of intentionally causing injury to the student and the two teachers in an attack on March 6.
He was also ordered to pay 8 million riels (about US$2,000) in compensation to each of the two teachers at the International Home of English School, and a further 10 million riels ($2,500) to the mother of the boy. Hang Sitha, the presiding judge, said the 10-day prison term included time already served since his arrest on March 11, meaning he will be free on Saturday.
The general was not present for the sentencing, having been admitted to a local hospital on Sunday to seek treatment for high blood pressure.
Chiep Sotheary, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said the punishment was acceptable despite the short prison sentence.
“Ten days is the smallest sentence to imprison the general, but it is acceptable, and I would like to applaud the court’s fast decision,” she said.
She added: “Ten days is a good sentence, because it has damaged his reputation. He is a general and is a wealthy man in the province, which
delivers a message to other powerful men to not use violence to express anger.”
Kheav Try, a representative of the International Home of English School, said he was also satisfied with the sentence.
“We both welcome and applaud the decision to sentence him to 10 days’ jail,” he said, adding that the school had heard he had been fired from his post at the naval base on Saturday by the provincial naval commander.
Keo Monysoka was arrested on March 11 following a complaint letter filed with provincial military police the previous day by the boy’s mother, Huon Maly.
The letter called for the general’s resignation because the boy had suffered head injuries and was afraid to attend school.
Keo Monysoka’s lawyer could not be reached for comment Tuesday.