A provincial police official convicted of raping an 11-year old girl in 2010 retains his freedom – and his job – according to a rights group, despite being sentenced by the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court in April.
The victim’s father, Yun Bunly, 52, has asked the court to enforce the five-year jail term and $10,000 fine by issuing an arrest warrant for Korng Sophat, 52, a provincial police official.
“I do not know why the rapist is still free after the court has already convicted him. I am worried for my own safety since he is an armed police official,” Bunly said.
The father said he wondered how it was possible that Sophat continues to work as a police official following his April 9 conviction.
While Preah Sihanouk police officials could not be reached yesterday, Licadho coordinator Bun Narith said that Sophat was still working in the department, but had been transferred from immigration police to central security police.
Mong Monychakrya, director of the provincial court, said the fact Sophat had appealed his conviction meant their hands were effectively tied.
“There is no final verdict yet, so we can do nothing.”
Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said that a felony conviction, like a rape sentence, “should be accompanied by an immediate arrest warrant”.
While Sam Oeun declined to comment on whether it is typical for officials not to be imprisoned upon conviction, he said the “situation is unfair”.
Bunly said he has filed complaints with several organisations but stated that “no measures have been taken yet”.
Sophat could not be reached for comment.
Additional reporting by Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon