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Court set to investigate abortion complaint

Court set to investigate abortion complaint

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court has launched an investigation into a complaint filed by a man who says his wife died as a result of an abortion performed by an unregistered and untrained midwife, a court official said yesterday.

Heng Rami, a court clerk, said he had questioned the complainant, Hiv Leng, yesterday, and that the accused was expected to attend questioning later in the week.

“I will summon the suspect on Friday this week to respond to this case,” he said. Heng Rami said he would not know whether or not the suspect would face charges until after that meeting.

Hiv Leng, 50, said yesterday that he had reiterated his original complaint, filed over the weekend, in which he accused a neighbour of performing an illegal abortion on his wife, 40-year-old Khem Tha, who had been three months pregnant at the time of the procedure.

He said his wife had died on July 20, one month after the abortion, because “her placenta and some parts of her stomach were rotten in her uterus”.

“I told the court clerk that I did not withdraw the complaint, and that I wish the suspect to be sentenced through the law,” and he requested “at least” US$10,000 in compensation, he said.

He said he had refused an out-of-court settlement that had been offered by the suspect’s husband and father after they learned of his complaint.

Under the 1997 Law on Abortion, untrained abortion providers who perform a procedure that results in a woman’s death can face up to 10 years in prison.

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