PREAH Vihear provincial court on Monday sentenced a man to 15 years in jail after finding him guilty of raping his 5-year-old daughter last year.
Sat Yoeung, 27, was arrested in Tbaeng Meanchey district’s Chhean Muk commune in October. His wife filed a complaint with police after learning of the rape from their 3-year-old daughter, who said she had witnessed it.
Judge Veng Bunthoeun said during Monday’s hearing that the sentence range for the crime was between 15 and 20 years in prison, and that Sat Yoeung would receive the minimum sentence on account of his “low” level of education.
“He didn’t realise that raping was against the law if it was his own daughter,” the judge said.
“However, when police came to arrest him following the complaint, they told him it was against the law.”
He added that Sat Yoeung had confessed to raping his daughter once.
Kea Sophal, a lawyer for the victim provided by the local rights group Adhoc, said he had been pushing for the maximum sentence, but that he deemed the 15-year term appropriate because Sat Yoeung had cooperated with the court.
“The judges took into account his confessions and the fact he didn’t complicate the court’s investigation,” he said, and added that Sat Yoeung’s “terrible regret” had also probably been considered.
Prak Saran, a provincial coordinator for Adhoc, also expressed satisfaction with the verdict and sentence, describing the crime as particularly heinous.
“This is a rare case of rape between a father and a daughter,” he said. “He is worth less than an animal for raping his daughter.”
Adhoc officials in Preah Vihear have received four complaints about the rapes of underage children since January, and three suspects have been charged and placed in pretrial detention. The fourth case is still under investigation.