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Lawmaker raises concerns

An opposition lawmaker has raised concerns that the mother of a maid working in Malaysia, who claimed that her daughter was raped twice by a member of her employer’s family, was under pressure when she retracted the allegations this month.

Srey Sophal, 66, of Svay Rieng province, claimed at a press conference organised by Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua on April 4 that her daughter had been raped, before withdrawing the allegations at the Ministry of Interior on April 6. In a statement released on her website on Friday, Mu Sochua said that the case should not end with the victim’s retraction.

“The mother retracted her allegation…at a press conference organised by the recruitment agency [Champa Manpower Group Ltd], at the Ministry of Interior, with a thumb printed letter by her daughter, officiated by the Embassy of Cambodia in Malaysia,” said Mu Sochua in the statement.

“To my mind, one word says it all: pressure.”

Mu Sochua added that the government should investigate Champa Manpower and its allied agency in Malaysia.

Cambodian officials should also collaborate with Malaysian authorities to investigate the alleged rape, the statement said.

The mother retracted her allegation ... at a press conference organised by the recruitment agency [Champa Manpower Group]  To my mind, one word says it all: pressure

Huy Pichsovann, program officer at the Community Legal Education Centre, said yesterday that the case should be dealt with by the Malaysian legal system.

“The press conference at the Ministry of Interior was to save the face of the Cambodian and Malaysian governments,” said Huy Pichsovann.

“The [Cambodian] government should investigate Champa Manpower and other companies sending workers to Malaysia to see if the companies check the workers in the training centre, if the workers have legal paperwork and if the companies monitor the workers [in Malaysia].”

Sa Ith Nory, a representative from Champa Manpower Group, said yesterday that the press conference at the Interior Ministry was organised by Champa Manpower, but declined to comment further.

Mu Sochua and Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak also could not be reached for comment.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MOM KUNTHEAR

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