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Kidnapper convicted of attempted murder

Yin Sotheara, after her arrest for briefly kidnapping then returning a child in early March this year in Phnom Penh.
Yin Sotheara, after her arrest for briefly kidnapping then returning a child in early March this year in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Kidnapper convicted of attempted murder

A woman who in March briefly kidnapped a baby girl because, in her own words, she “loved the baby too much” was convicted yesterday of attempted murder at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Judge Tob Chhun Heng delivered the verdict.

Yin Sotheara, 34, confessed to the court earlier this month that she took the baby from her friend, Meas Sovanna, on March 8. During the abduction, she sealed the child’s mouth with tape and put her in a plastic bag before using rope to lower the baby to the street.

Feeling remorse about her actions, the following day, Sotheara decided to return the baby to her mother, concealing her in the storage area under the seat of her motorbike as she travelled to Sovanna’s home.

Cheat Sokha, lawyer for Sotheara, requested before and during the hearing that Sotheara’s charges be reduced from attempted murder to theft but a judge decided earlier this month that she should have known the baby could have been suffocated during the abduction, and describing her as “so brutal”.

“I think the sentence was very severe for her,” Sokha said yesterday. “During the hearing, I requested the judges to change the charge, but the judges did not change it.”

Sokha added that she will appeal the conviction. “I think the [Appeal Court] will understand her,” he said.

Under the Criminal Code, attempted murder can be punishable by 10 to 15 years in prison. However, during Sotheara’s trial no evidence was presented that she had intended to kill the baby.

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