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Official’s wife accuses him of bigamy

A woman who claims to be the wife of the deputy governor of Kandal province’s Takhmao district has asked rights groups to intervene and prevent him from marrying another woman this Friday.

Uy Thavy, 40, claims that she married 43-year-old Takhmao deputy district governor Huy Ath in 1993, and pointed out that an additional marriage would be illegal, as their divorce has not yet been approved.

“I was shocked when I saw the invitation card. I am his official wife. I will not allow him to get married whatsoever. I need a husband and my kids need a father,” she said, claiming that she is taking care of four of Huy Ath’s sons.

She said she discovered in September that her husband was having an affair with a woman from Tien commune in Kandal Stung district.

“If the authorities do not help me, I will find my own way to stop the wedding,” she said. “My husband filed a complaint to get a divorce from me after I found out that he was having a relationship with a new woman. But I did not agree to get a divorce.”

Uy Thavy said that after telling Huy Ath of her objection to the wedding, Huy Ath threatened to imprison her if she caused any problems during the ceremony.

Keo Sok Ros, Tien commune chief, said that Huy Ath had presented him with a legal document stating that he had been legally divorced from Uy Thavy.

“I issued a marriage letter for him because he has a legal document. If he did not have the document, we would not issue the letter,” he said.

However, Men Makara, a provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said that Uy Thavy had shown him a document indicating that the divorce had not been approved, fuelling speculation that the document her husband had presented to Uy Thavy was fake.

Huy Ath could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Under the 2006 Law on Monogamy, a person found guilty of bigamy can face anywhere between six months to a year in prison and fines of between 200,000 riel (US$49)
and 1,000,000 riel.

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