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Man held for ‘torturing’ wife

A man charged with the use of violence against his wife is being held behind bars after allegedly badly beating his wife and attempting to set her on fire, Kampot provincial police officer Sao Samoeun said yesterday.

According an official court document issued on Saturday, authorities ordered the pre-trial detention of 31-year-old suspect Euon Yon on charges of “violence committed by a spouse or partner” under Article 222 of the penal code, though one women’s rights activist yesterday questioned whether the charge was sufficiently stiff to fit the crime.

Ngi Huong, Svay Tong Kang Tbong commune police chief, said Yon was arrested after neighbours reported the situation to local police, alleging he had attempted to burn his wife alive after “torturing” her “because she did not stay at home”.

“He used her clothes and wire to tie her limbs to the hammock she was sleeping in … He poured salt into her mouth and poured gasoline and water over her naked body to burn her,” he said.

The gasoline failed to ignite because it had been diluted.

Both had been married before, and though they didn’t possess official marriage paperwork, their union had been recognised by the families, police said. The victim had gone to look after her sick children from her previous marriage at her relative’s house at the time of the incident.

The authorities were aware of Yon’s frequent habit of beating his wife when drunk, and had “educated” Yon and mediated compromises between the couple on many occasions.

Under Article 222, Yon could be imprisoned for two to five years and fined up to $2,500.

However, Gender and Development for Cambodia executive director Ros Sopheap said yesterday that the potential sentence is “not strong enough”, as the suspect was evidently “trying to kill” his wife.

She also slammed the prevalence of out-of-court settlements in domestic abuse cases, adding there should be “zero tolerance” for perpetrators, who should always face court.

Anna Koo

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