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Officials accused of taking payments

A MAN in Pursat province yesterday accused police and court officials of taking more than half of an out-of-court settlement payment stemming from a sexual abuse case.

The 41-year-old father had accused another Pursat man, also 41, of sexually abusing his 6-year-old daughter. The suspect was arrested on Sunday and charged on Monday, but the father later agreed to drop the charges in an out-of-court settlement facilitated by provincial court officials and police in Krakor district’s Thnaot Chum commune.

He said the terms of the settlement called for him to receive 5 million riels (about US$1,192), but that when the officials who had brokered the deal gave him the money, they handed him about 2 million riels (US$477) and then requested a further cut for their services.

“I demanded 5 million riels in compensation from the suspect, but I got only 1.8 million riels,” he said. “They did not tell me where the rest of the money went, but told me ‘if you don’t accept it you will get nothing’.”

The father said he had agreed to settle out of court because he believed the suspect would have been released either way, and that he had lost even more faith in the legal system. “I feel a loss of confidence in the court and police officials because at first they told me that they will help me to arrest the suspect without taking anything because it is their duty,” he said.

They did not tell me where the rest of the money went, but told me ‘if you don’t accept it you will get nothing’.

Commune Police Chief Hang Savun yesterday denied that police had facilitated an out-of-court settlement.
“If we accepted the money from them, why did we send the offender to the court?” he said, and added that it was the duty of police to investigate such cases free of charge.

Pursat provincial court judge In Bopha could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Nget Theavy, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said sexual violence cases should be prosecuted regardless of whether victims move to press charges.

“I think it is corrupt and illegal that the court decided to release the offender even though both parties agreed to the compensation deal,” she said.

“It is a bad example, and people will lose confidence with the court and the police.”

Also on Wednesday, an official said that Ratanakkiri provincial court temporarily detained a 14-year-old boy charged with raping a 4-year-old girl last week.

Chan Hean, deputy director of the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection office, said the suspect, who lives near the victim in O’Yadav district, was charged on Sunday and being held for questioning.

“The boy raped the girl at the girl’s house after he watched a sex video and wanted to copy the video,” he said.

Chhay Thy, a provincial investigator for Adhoc, which is monitoring the case, said the organisation had recorded 10 rape cases in Ratanakkiri province so far this year.

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