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Hearing postponed in acid attack appeal

THE Court of Appeal on Wednesday postponed an appeal hearing in the case of former Military Police official Chea Ratha, who in August was acquitted of a conviction for a brutal acid attack against her lesbian lover’s aunt.

Chuon Sunleng, the Appeal Court’s deputy president, said the hearing had been postponed because the court’s calendar was too full, adding that it would take place on November 6.

“There is nothing to be changed for Chea Ratha’s case,” he said. “We just postponed the hearing because we had about 10 cases to hear today. It will be brought before a judge on November 6.”

The August 31 verdict was blasted by the rights groups Licadho and the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights. Licadho Director Naly Pilorge said in a September 2 statement: “This is yet another blatant display of Cambodia’s rampant impunity and culture of brutal violence.”

Chea Ratha is believed to be out of the country. In Soklyda, her former lover, and the victim, Ya Soknim, went into hiding shortly after the verdict was announced.

Ya Soknim suffered severe burns in the May 2008 attack, and lost her right eye and breast. At a press conference on September 2, In Soklyda said she feared for her safety.



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