Five male garment workers, all in their mid-20s, were each sentenced yesterday to seven years in prison for the gang rape of a 21-year-old woman in December of last year.
The five men, identified as Long Ravuth, Ya Sokhom, Phann Chanthoeun, Sor Thun and Chhorn Channith, are all between the ages of 24 and 25. Channith escaped before being arrested and was convicted in absentia. The court also ruled that the defendants, who maintained their innocence and said the sex was consensual, should jointly pay the victim $2,000 in compensation.
Nou Veasna, the presiding judge at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said yesterday that they were convicted on charges of “gang rape or rape with aggravating circumstances”. They were arrested based on the victim’s complaint on December 16.
The victim told the court at a hearing in November that on December 10, Ravuth asked for her number when she was walking with a few friends on Koh Pich. The same day, he called and asked if she wanted to go dancing at a night club in Phnom Penh’s Thmey commune.
Instead, “he brought me to drink with six of his friends at a sausage shop on the outskirts of Por Sen Chey district”, she said at the time. Later on, she said they took her into the brush and held her down while each defendant raped her. Only five men were later arrested because she couldn’t identify the remaining two.
The accused and their defence lawyers could not be reached for comment yesterday. They have requested the judge to reduce their sentences.