The Appeal Court on Thursday convened the hearing of a traditional healer who is accused of raping his 14-year-old patient four times in Chan Sen commune, in Kampong Speu province’s Odong district, in September 2015.
Court notes said the accused, 63-year-old Phorn Khoeun, is a well-known traditional healer in the area.
The incident occurred when a mother brought her daughter to meet him after a doctor could not provide medical treatment for her brain disease.
Khoeun told them that someone had practised sorcery on her and asked them to pay him 150,000 riel for traditional treatment.
The mother believed that he could treat her so she paid Khoeun and allowed the daughter to live at his home for the duration of the treatment. However, she did not recover and returned home a few days later.
The girl returned several times for treatment between August and September 2015. During that period, Khoeun would take the victim to a nearby forest where he raped her several times.
The final rape occurred on September 27, 2015. When she returned home, her mother noticed she had blood on her clothes and asked her what had happened.
“If you want to know, go and ask the traditional healer,” she responded to the mother.
After further questioning, the daughter eventually told her what happened and she was taken to a provincial hospital for a medical examination. The hospital issued a letter confirming that her reproductive organ was injured.
The mother then filed a complaint with the commune police and demanded $5,000 in compensation.
The provincial court sentenced Khoeun to 10 years in prison for rape under Article 241 of the Criminal Code. Unhappy with the verdict, he appealed the sentence in late 2015.
However, at Thursday’s hearing, Khoeun denied the charge, saying he did not commit the crime. “I am sick, please can the court release me?” he asked.
His defence lawyer Neang Hay said Khoeun had denied the allegation from the beginning.
“My client is old, if he remains behind bars he could face health problems and trouble with other inmates, so the court should release him,” Hay said.
Prosecutor Nget Sarath said the testimonies of the victim and her mother proved that he had raped her.
“He always gave her treatment in a quiet place and took advantage of the situation. According to Article 241, he faces between seven and 15 years in jail. I am asking the judge to consider this punishment,” he said.