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Unworkable verdict for acid victim

Unworkable verdict for acid victim

A Kampong Cham provincial court judge ruled November 6 that acid attack victim Som

Rasmey could visit her young daughter, who is currently staying with her father at

a remote military camp near the Laos border. Frustrated human rights workers said

Judge Tith Sothy gave no indication of how to solve the practical difficulties any

visit would involve.

Meas Sokunthea from the Cambodian Defenders Project, who represented Rasmey, said

as she was too scared to venture out in public, she would be terrified of visiting

the camp.

"The judge's decision is very hollow," said Larissa Wakim, a human rights

worker who attended the hearing. "Som Rasmey has very little hope to visit.

The judge told her that she could visit the child, but [said] it was the work of

the local authorities to help Rasmey," said Wakim, saying it should fall to

the judge to enforce his ruling.

Wakim said the judge's decision was only based on article 75 of marriage and family

law, which states that: "The party that does not have the child shall have the

right for access to the child, and the party that has the child shall facilitate

the other party." She said the order should address the specific difficulties

Rasmey would encounter in trying to meet her daughter.

Rasmey's attacker, Minh Rinath, is married to Colonel Lim Sok Heng, who serves in

Military Region 2. Heng is Rasmey's former lover and father of the girl in the custody

hearing.

Rinath was convicted in absentia December last year of the attack, in which she hired

four women to hold Rasmey down and pour two bottles of hydrochloric acid over her

head and body. She received a two year suspended sentence for the attack.

Judge Sothy had postponed the visitation rights hearing July 4 after Rinath did not

turn up to the court. Rasmey's civil suit filed earlier this year against Rinath

has not yet been heard. In July this year Rasmey told the Post she had received 'indirect'

death threats from Rinath to drop the custody charge.

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