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Maid retracts rape claims

Maid retracts rape claims

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Srey Sophal, the mother of a woman allegedly held in Malaysia, speaks to reporters yesterday in Phnom Penh to say she ‘misunderstood’.

A maid working in Malaysia has retracted claims made through her mother this week that she was raped twice by a member of her employer’s family, as an agreement that will allow her to come home was brokered.

At a press conference held yesterday at National Police headquarters in Phnom Penh, a letter was released in which the woman apologised to both her employer and recruitment agency Champa Manpower Group Ltd stating that she “was not raped” and her mother had “misunderstood”.

The letter, dated April 5, was signed by a representative of the Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia.

The woman’s 66-year-old mother, Srey Sophal, also apologised yesterday and said that the rape did not occur.

On Monday, the widow from Svay Rieng province fronted a press conference held by opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua where she claimed that her daughter had been raped and abused in Malaysia and requested government intervention.

“Before, I had got phone call from my daughter that she was raped but she called to me again that she was not raped,” said Srey Sophal yesterday.

Huy Pichsovann, program officer at the Community Legal Education Centre, said that he had received a phone call on Tuesday in which Srey Sophal said she had been talking to Champa Manpower over a possible compensation deal.

“Her mother told me that [her daughter] decided to reach the [compensation] agreement because she is afraid that the Malaysian authorities would not allow her to return to Cambodia,” he said.

“I think she is signing the agreement under pressure.”

Yesterday, managing director of Champa Manpower Group, Van Sakrany, confirmed at the conference that his company would pay for Srey Sophal’s daughter to return to Cambodia. When asked if dropping the rape allegations was related to compensation, Srey Sophal repeated that she had “misunderstood” her daughter and was following what her daughter wished.

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