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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Woman gives birth during protest at B Meanchey court

Woman gives birth during protest at B Meanchey court

40-year-old births 6th son while protesting charges of murder and robbery against husband that rights officials, villagers call unsubstantiated.

A WOMAN whose husband was detained by Banteay Meanchey provincial police last week after being accused of murder gave birth on the doorstep of the provincial court on Sunday, as she gathered with fellow villagers to press for her husband's release.

Sam Kol, a doctor working for the local rights group Licadho, said Sok Nath, 40, went into labour and gave birth to a boy outside the court at 8pm.
"She gave birth on the grass under a tree," he said, adding that local village women helped deliver her sixth son.

Four days after the birth, he said that Sok Nath still suffered from poor nutrition and could produce breast milk only after receiving help from his organisation.

"She looks weak because she doesn't have enough food to eat, and the food she eats is not nutritious. She has no money. We have supported her with food, medicine and money, but it is not much," he said.

Sok Nath and around 140 residents from Banteay Meanchey's Rasmey village gathered at the provincial court Saturday, when her husband, Khleung Da, 46, was arrested on suspicion of murder and robbery.

Human rights officials say they believe Khleung Da was actually detained for representing the villagers in land disputes in the region.

"He has made no mistake. He was arrested unjustly because we went to investigate the issue and asked villagers about the murder, and the villagers said that he was not involved in the robbery," said Sum Chan Kea, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc.

Villager Ngor Ea said Khleung Da's arrest was a mistake, and that the court did not have enough evidence to hold him. "They accused him of murder, but not any one has appeared to file a complaint," he said.

Judge Sim Kuch, who is in charge of Khleung Da's case, said Thursday that he had received it from prosecutor So Vath. So Vath could not be reached for comment Thursday.



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