THE owner of a Tuol Kork district eatery accused of “brutal” violence against his wife will be held behind bars as he awaits prosecution, police officials said Tuesday.
Meas Kunthy, the owner of Mangkol Keo restaurant in Tuol Kork district, was arrested February 27 in connection with the unrelated robbery of an accountant who worked in his restaurant, police said.
The arrest came a day after Meas Kunthy’s wife filed a complaint with a rights group, alleging she had been tortured and forcibly confined by her husband. Meas Kunthy now faces charges relating to robbery and domestic violence, said Cheav Vibol, deputy chief of the Sen Sok district police, which arrested the man Thursday.
An investigator with rights group Licadho said the man’s wife had been abused for the last decade.
“In our interview with her, she cried out and told us that she had been sexually tortured regularly by her husband since their marriage in 2000,” said Bun Sao Ra, the group’s women’s rights investigator.
She said the woman was at one point locked in a room for more than two months.
“The victim told us that she wasn’t brave enough to bring this story to police or human rights advocates before, because she thought it was normal for other families to experience domestic violence,” Bun Sao Ra said.
In an interview, the woman said she felt “comforted” knowing her husband was behind bars, claiming he had threatened to kill her and her parents. “I could not tolerate it anymore,” she said.
The allegations came days before International Women’s Day, which the Kingdom celebrates as an official holiday.
Domestic violence is prevalent in Cambodia. In a 2005 study conducted on behalf of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, almost one-quarter of female respondents reported suffering violence at the hands of their husbands.
In a speech Tuesday, Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema vowed to ensure the prosecution domestic violence crimes.
“We acknowledge that there are a number of women who are victimised,” he said. “Our government has never ignored perpetrators.”
Under criminal law, judges are permitted to detain accused criminals in pre-trial detention for a maximum of four months.