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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Slow process in rape case highlights perils of filing complaints

Slow process in rape case highlights perils of filing complaints

Rights groups worried grandmother and victim who filed complaint will be targeted by alleged rapist due to police inefficiency



In the first nine months of 2008, a total of 211 cases of rape were reported, according to figures compiled by local child protection NGOs. Of these, 132 of the victims, or 59 percent, were minors. In 18 of the cases, the victims were killed after being assaulted.

RIGHTS organisations have urged authorities in Sihanoukville to speed up a case against an alleged rapist, who is still living with the victim-his 15-year-old daughter.

Last Friday the Cambodian  rights group Adhoc asked the prosecutor in Sihanoukville for faster process on the rape case in order to protect the victim and her family. They say a complaint lodged by the girl's grandmother against the father was moving too slowly from the district police in Prey Nob to the police commissioner in Sihanoukville.

"I had to inform the prosecutor to take action and issue a warrant to detain the defendant, because the victim is at threat, and I am concerned that the defendant will escape and take the daughter with him," said Adhoc coordinator Chan Chamroeun.

Sihanoukville Municipal Court prosecutor Meas Sophak confirmed to the Post that he received the complaint Sunday. "I requested that the police file the case to me as quickly as possible," Meas Sophak said.



The warrant needs to be issued by the prosecutor's office, but not until they receive a report from the police commissioner.

At the district police in Prey Nob, Deputy Criminal Police Chief Kheng Sophal said the case needed a lot of investigation because the father allegedly had raped his daughter 30 to 40 times, and she had not lodged a complaint straight away. He also added that the police talked with the father after the complaint.

"I just ordered my lower police to bring him to the office and ask him [general questions] about his background, so if he escapes, we know we could find him," Kheng Sophal said.

In the meantime, Adhoc and the grandparents fear what might happen to the girl and the rest of the family if the father finds out that a complaint has been lodged against him.

"If the police don't make enough effort and ask for the warrant to detain him, it may cause other problems like murder, or he will hurt his wife because he has a record of beating his wife," Chan Chamroeun said.

The grandfather, Ya El, also  remains concerned for his family's security.

"All six children and his wife still live with him and are scared because he threatens them and beats his wife," he said.



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