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Rape victim waiting on justice after Covid delays

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The suspect, the victim's step-father, was arrested for rapping his step-daughter in Mondulkiri province. Police

Rape victim waiting on justice after Covid delays

A mother in Mondulkiri province has urged speedy legal proceedings against her partner who allegedly raped her daughter three years ago.

The push for a trial came after the court announced postponement of all cases in the wake of the February community outbreak of Covid-19

The mother, a resident of Putrom 4 village in Sen Monorom town’s Romnea district, told The Post on March 25 she had waited for too long to see justice done.

“On March 17, I and some witnesses went to the court to attend the hearing regarding case, but a court official told me all trials were temporarily postponed to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” she said, adding the official did not give a date for a resumption of the trial.

The woman said her daughter was raped by her 40-year-old partner, the girl’s step-father.

Provincial court spokesman Meas Pros told The Post the case was being handled as quickly as was possible.

“I think the victim and her mother should understand the current situation, in which we face high risk from Covid-19. The court will not dismiss the case, so just wait for the court to find justice after the Covid-19 situation has eased,” he said.

The woman said after her first husband died in 2011, she brought her 10-year-old daughter and six-year-old son to live in Phnom Penh, where she met the suspect and lived together as a couple.

She alleged that in late 2018, her partner raped her daughter twice while she was away to visit her hometown in Mondulkiri province. The suspect also allegedly threatened to kill both of her children if they told anyone about the rape.

In 2019, her whole family returned to Mondulkiri. She said the suspect had been drinking, arguing, destroying property and threatening to burn down the house on a daily basis ever since.

On one occasion, she said the man threatened to behead her daughter, but neighbours had intervened and stopped him.

“That was when she spoke out about what her step-father had done to her in Phnom Penh,” she said.

Shocked by the revelations, she and other villagers filed a complaint with the provincial police in May 2019, accusing the suspect of rape, domestic violence and destruction of property. She then petitioned for a divorce.

Reached by The Post for comment, the suspect denied the allegations. He said the criminal police bureau had called him in for questioning several times regarding the case and the court had also summoned him several times before the Covid-19 outbreak.

“If it was true I would have been locked up by the police already, not walking free until now,” he said.

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