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Rape and murder suspects on trial

Three men accused of raping and killing a 35-year-old widow in Russey Keo district earlier this year were tried by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.

So Sam Oeun, 42, Nuth Neth, 21, and Hean Mean, 33, all face charges of aggravated intentional murder for the gang rape and killing last April of Oeun Em, a palm wine seller, presiding judge Kor Vandy said yesterday.

“They entered into the victim’s rental room while she was sleeping alone on April 13 at midnight. They each forcibly raped her successfully, and after, they killed her by breaking her neck,” he alleged.

The three accused men were allegedly drinking together to celebrate the Khmer New Year and around midnight headed to Sam Oeun’s room, which neighboured the victim’s rental room.

Sam Oeun, the only one of the suspects present at the trial, maintained that he reported the crime but was not a perpetrator.

“I would like to deny the court’s accusation against me,” he said yesterday. “The persons who entered her room and forcibly raped her on that night … were Nuth Neth and Hean Mean, who both escaped.”

He added that he heard the victim shout for help, but did not go to her because he was too drunk to wake himself up, though he did report the crime to the victim’s family and the police the following day.

“There is no real proof or evidence to show that my client committed the offence as he is accused. Therefore, I would like to request the court to drop charges against him and release him,” said Neang Hai, Sam Oeun’s defence lawyer.

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