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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Suspected cannibals set free

Suspected cannibals set free

TWO cannibalism suspects were released Apr 1, after being detained for more than

a month in Kampong Cham prison. "I have released them," said Tith Sothy,

chief of judge of Kampong Cham province. "The act is not prohibited under the

Constitution, so the suspects cannot be punished."

Un Thy, 27 and Hoeun Horn, 24, of Srey Santhor district were arrested on Feb 12,

one day after they spent the evening drinking wine and eating soup containing a part

of a stillborn child, the incarcerated suspects told the Post.

Police did not know what to charge the suspects with, but considered eating human

flesh as a very "strong act" and described it as violating the cultural

and moral customs of the nation, according to Sorn Chheangly, chief of police of

Kampong Cham province.

"We didn't know what the crime was, but we had to arrest them because we knew

they had done it," Chheangly said.

Un Thy explained that he and Horn were asked by Hy Thy, the father of the stillborn

baby, to come with him and help bury it near his home. He said that a man named Pheang

approached at the grave and said: "If we make a soup with the baby, it will

be delicious."

After Pheang said this the suspects said that he took a hoe and cut off one of the

baby's legs.

The two said that they then joined Pheang at his home to drink wine and eat the soup.

"I vomited after I put the flesh to my mouth... it had a strong smell,"

Horn said, adding that Pheang escaped.

The judge, police and human-rights workers said that despite the release the act

violated Khmer morals and was unacceptable behavior.

The court and Legal Aid of Cambodia said that there was an article prohibiting corpse

violation in the 1950s and 60s, but that there is nothing on the books now.

Ouk Touch, deputy chief of judges in Kampong Cham province called on the National

Assembly to pass a law protecting corpses to allow judges to prosecute.

"This case is a lesson for courts in any province," he said.

The Ministry of Justice's draft crime law contains 600 offenses, but not corpse violation,

according to Secretary of State Ouk Vithun.

Kampong Cham chief judge Sothy called for detailed legislation like there was 1950-60s.

"Before, people could not play with dead bodies," he said. "You could

be jailed for at least three months just for kicking a thief's corpse."



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