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Parents of alleged acid attackers to remain supervised

Moung Srey Mom receives medical attention at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh last year.
Moung Srey Mom receives medical attention at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh last year. Eli Meixler

Parents of alleged acid attackers to remain supervised

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a decision to maintain a supervision order on two suspects allegedly involved in a horrific acid attack on a pregnant woman and her daughter during a business dispute in Takeo province more than a year ago.

Nhe Deng, 63, and Seng Kimleng, 55, are alleged to have ordered their children Leakhena and Beng Meas to carry out the attack in November 2014. The siblings remain at large after fleeing to Vietnam.

Despite finding that Deng and Kimleng were not involved in the attack, a lower court placed the two under court supervision, which decrees that the couple cannot leave the country without permission and must attend court upon being summonsed. After an appeal to have the supervision order lifted failed, they took their request to the Supreme Court last week, only to have it rejected again yesterday.

“For the acid attack case in Takeo province, after the prosecution’s case and further discussion, the court thinks that it should uphold the decision of the Appeal Court,” presiding judge Kem Sathavy said yesterday.

The victim, Moung Srey Mom, lost her unborn child after the attack, while her 2-year-old daughter also suffered burns.

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom yesterday, the victim’s father, Loch Thorn, said he welcomed the court’s decision, but said justice will not be served until the perpetrators have been caught.

“The Supreme Court has offered justice to my daughter and granddaughter, but the victim’s condition is still critical and the two suspects are on the run.”

Erin Bourgois, former project manager of the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, said yesterday’s decision represented a step closer to justice for Srey Mom and her family.

“It is often very rare that instigators are sentenced, partly because it’s hard to prove,” she said.

Echoing the family’s sentiments, however, Bourgois said she hoped the authorities were working to track down the perpetrators.

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