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‘Virgin’ victim complicates rape case

‘Virgin’ victim complicates rape case

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court yesterday ordered the reinvestigation of the case against a 20-year-old Cambodian man who has been charged with raping a 14-year-old girl, citing a doctor’s report indicating that the alleged victim’s hymen was undamaged.

Sous Virak was arrested on November 22 of last year at a guesthouse near Central Market in Daun Penh district following a complaint submitted to municipal anti-human trafficking police by the girl’s parents, who accused him of luring her to the capital from her home in Takeo province and raping her four times.

At a hearing last month, a court clerk read out a report completed by a doctor from a referral hospital in the capital that claimed that the victim could not have been raped because her hymen was intact.

The report prompted verbal sparring between lawyers for the alleged victim and the accused. Afterwards, deputy prosecutor Plang Sophal said he intended to have judges lift the charges against Sous Virak.

Instead, Judge Ke Sakhan announced yesterday that the case would be reinvestigated.

“We need to summon the doctor from the Phnom Penh referral hospital who was involved with this case to clarify the examination report about the girl’s virginity,” he said.

Lawyers from both sides expressed disappointment with the outcome.

“We are not so happy with the court’s decision to reinvestigate, but it is done according to judicial procedure in order to make both sides happy,” said Nuon Phanith, a lawyer provided for the girl by the child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants.

He suggested that the doctor had not been thorough in preparing his report, and pointed to the fact that Sous Virak at one point confessed to police.

During the August hearing, Sous Virak said that confession had been made under duress.

Defence lawyer Kim Socheat, meanwhile, said he was frustrated that the charges against Sous Virak had not been lifted, saying he had been held in jail for nine months unfairly.
The next hearing in the case has not yet been scheduled.

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