Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Woman jailed for 165 years receives legal aid

Woman jailed for 165 years receives legal aid

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A woman was sentenced​ to 165 years in jail over 9 cases of crimes. Supplied

Woman jailed for 165 years receives legal aid

The Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) on Wednesday said it had provided legal assistance to a woman who was sentenced to 165 years in prison on nine criminal counts after she pleaded for a reduction of her jail terms.

The move followed CHRC’s recent visit to Prey Sar prison.

CHRC spokesperson Chin Malin told The Post on Wednesday that the government’s rights body had provided a lawyer for Pech Sonet, 24, and also found a centre to take care of her three-year-old son.

“The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has already delivered a verdict but she appealed the sentence."

“We found an organisation to help take care of her son while her case proceeded. We need a proper place to provide her son with temporary care and education. Regarding her case, CHRC only offers legal aid on her request,” he said.

Malin said Sonet had not received a final verdict. If her charges are combined, her jail terms would amount to over 100 years. But by law, he said, a lawyer could argue mitigating circumstances so the court could consolidate her sentences before issuing a final verdict.

Chhouk Seiha, the executive director of Child Pedagogy Cambodia, said the NGO accepted her son last week and would offer him care and education.

“The law bars children from staying in jail with their mother to prevent them from witnessing life in prison,” he said.

Seiha said a baby-sitter is looking after Sonet’s son, who has learnt to sing and draw pictures.

A prison officer who asked not to be named said Sonet hailed from Kampong Chhnang province and was disowned by her parents for unspecified reasons.

She then came to find work in Phnom Penh where she met her boyfriend Taing Nimey whom she lived together without getting married until she became pregnant.

In 2015, the couple and two other friends were arrested while having a meal on the Prasith mountain just outside the capital. Police said at the time they had been following the gang for many months for their involvement in over 30 cases of robbery and murder.

Sonet’s boyfriend then resisted arrest and shot at police, prompting them to return fire in self-defence. He was shot dead, while Sonet and her companions were arrested.

While in prison, she was taken to the Japanese-owned Sunrise Hospital in Phnom Penh to deliver her baby, the officer said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 foreigners in Cambodia, the bulk being from the UK, have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly them out of the Kingdom. The petition is targeted at 15,000 foreigners. Among them are nearly 200 Europeans, the majority

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • PM set to mend ties with US

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. His response to Yoho came after the congressman

  • Mysterious century-old structure found at bottom of Angkor pond

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a mysterious 1,000-year-old structure of a wooden building at the bottom of a pond after the Angkor Wat temple’s conservation team completed restoring its northern cave. The deputy director at ANA’s Angkor International Research and Documentation

  • NBC’s directive to restructure credit targeting four sectors

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) on Friday issued a directive to all banks and financial institutions to restructure credit for loans in four priority sectors, a move lauded by the private sector. The directive aims to maintain financial stability, support economic activity and ease