Four family members were convicted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday on charges of assault and the attempted murder of a woman in Phnom Penh in 2013.
Presiding judge Heng Sokna handed down sentences to the four suspects: Dav Seng Chamroeun, 34; his mother, 55-year-old Hem Tanh; his wife, Em Srey Mach, 32; and his brother-in-law, Um Malen, 35.
Chamroeun received an 18-month sentence and $1,250 fine, his mother got 12 months and $500, while his wife and her brother were fined $50 each.
Additionally, the court ordered them to pay $1,000 in reparations to the plaintiff, Song Sreynim, a 28-year old language teacher and consultant for UN Women in Cambodia.
According to the judge, on the evening of September 1, 2013, the four suspects entered Sreynim’s home seeking to harm two dinner guests: Tanh’s estranged husband, Dav Song Heng, and his mistress of 15 years, Prum Reaksa.
“Thanh got angry with her husband for bringing his young mistress to eat dinner near her son’s house. She then called [the other three suspects] to enter to beat her husband’s young mistress inside Song Sreynim’s house,” Sokna said.
“They have beaten both Song Sreynim and Prum Reaksa. They have also threatened to kill both of them,” he continued.
He added that Sreynim had sustained serious injuries resulting in hospitalisation.
Sreynim said that when she filed suit in 2013, Chamroeun threatened her.
“He threatened me to withdraw my lawsuit against them, otherwise he would kill me and my family,” she said.
Sreynim expressed displeasure with the verdict yesterday, saying the $1,000 in reparations does not cover two years of legal fees nor the hospital bills. She further claimed her case was plagued by corruption.
“It is bad, it is very corrupt, [the courts] try to make it slow . . . they say ‘you should pay’ if you want a verdict,” she said, insinuating that bribing court officials would have yielded better reparation.
“I didn’t pay, so I didn’t get justice,” she continued, adding that despite her connections to the NGO community, “this is about money”.
The four suspects did not attend the verdict hearing and could not be reached for comment yesterday.