A request to the Ministry of Justice for the release from pre-trial detention of a mother charged with drug trafficking was issued by her lawyers last week.
The August 25 letter was sent by lawyers Nach Tru, Chun Socheat and Ich Piseth Rainsy on behalf of Heng Li Li, 22, the mother of 8-month-old twins.
The request invokes a scheme granting pardons or temporary bail for pregnant women or mothers of young children.
The statement details Li Li’s arrest on the evening of June 17 when, lawyers claim, a friend named Dav, 23, instructed her to bring a handbag that, unbeknownst to her, contained drugs to a man named Na. Li Li was intercepted by authorities en route.
The stated reason for redress are Li’s children, who are in the care of her elderly mother, who is also HIV-positive.
“The case is very pitiful,” Socheat said, adding that meanwhile, Dav and Na had escaped.
Chin Malin, Justice Ministry spokesman, said the ministry cannot overrule the investigating judge.
“That principle is only applied to women already . . . in prison,” Malin said.
However, Am Sam Ath, from rights group Licadho, said: “The government needs to reconsider whether this case should be counted”.
The investigating judge could not be reached for comment. yesterday.