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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - No progress in case against midwife

No progress in case against midwife

A MEANCHEY district man pursuing a criminal complaint against a woman he says botched an abortion procedure that killed his wife expressed frustration yesterday that no charge had been brought in the case despite the fact that he has been questioned by court clerks seven times.

Hiv Leng said he appeared yesterday at the court along with two witnesses as well as documents that he said proved the midwife’s guilt.

“I went to the court and brought two witnesses for questioning, but the court officials asked me to bring more witnesses,” he said. Hiv Leng said he already had five other witnesses in mind.

He also said the clerk, Heng Rami, had encouraged him to drop the case and accept a compensation payment from the midwife’s family. The family has previously proposed a payment of US$2,000.

“The court clerk told me to accept the compensation from the suspect, but I didn’t agree. I need the suspect to go to jail,” Hiv Leng said.

“I am worried that the court will drop my wife’s case because they always ask me to bring more evidence,” he said.

Hiv Leng’s 40-year-old wife, Khem Tha, died on July 20, one month after she underwent an abortion, reportedly without consulting her family. She was three months pregnant.

Under the 1997 Law on Abortion, only medical doctors, midwives and other professionals who receive authorisation from the Health Ministry are permitted to perform abortions, and the procedures must be carried out in hospitals, health centres or medical clinics that have registered with the ministry.

Untrained abortion providers who perform a procedure that results in a woman’s death face up to 10 years in prison.

Heng Rami yesterday denied having encouraged Hiv Leng to accept a compensation payment. He said the case was still being investigated.

“After I have completed my duty for questioning the victim and witnesses, I will file the case to the prosecutor, who will decide whether to summon the suspect or bring charges,” he said.

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