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Police accuse army of rape-case interference

A ROYAL Cambodian Armed Forces commander has refused police permission to question a soldier in his brigade who has been accused of raping two underage girls, according to officials in Oddar Meanchey province.

Roth Savon, provincial police officer in charge of crimes, said a 45-year-old woman in Trapaing Prasat district’s Preah Pralay commune informed police on Tuesday last week that her son-in-law, a 25-year-old low-ranking officer in RCAF Brigade 8, had raped her 8-year-old daughter.

“We asked the military commander to hand over the suspect to police in order to question him, but he refused,” Roth Savon said. “He said he wouldn’t hand him over to police unless there is a result from a [medical] examination letter.”

Roth Sovan said the woman had not filed a formal complaint, and told police just wanted to “inform” them of the incident.

He added, however, that police intended to pursue the case regardless of cooperation from the victim’s family or the military.

Srey Naren, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the woman filed a complaint with his office on Friday, claiming that the suspect had raped her 8-year-old daughter on Monday last week, and had raped her 5-year-old daughter in April.

He said that the woman had not filed a complaint immediately after the first incident because another of her daughters, who is the suspect’s wife, had threatened to commit suicide if her husband was imprisoned.

“First she did not want to complain because she was worried about her daughter who is the suspect’s wife,” Srey Naren said. “But now she decided to file a complaint because she has understood that he should be punished according to the law.”

He added that the military should not interfere in the police investigation of the case.

“The military commander should allow his soldier to be questioned by police,” he said. “If he is found not guilty, he will be free to go back to work at his base.”

In Lorn, deputy district police chief, said on Monday that police would ask the court for an arrest warrant for the soldier once it had received the results of a medical examination that was conducted on Sunday.

“We already took the victim to make an examination yesterday, and we will collect it soon in order to send it to court for an arrest warrant,” he said.
Roth Sovan said yesterday that police had not yet retrieved the examination results.

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