Khmer Times/Buth Reaksmey Kongkea Friday, 19 May 2017 439 views

Surrogacy hearing delayed

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday extended the detention of two Cambodians and one Australian arrested over alleged human trafficking in surrogacy cases.
 

Judge Suo Linna postponed a planned trial because of the absence of witnesses and police who laid the complaint.
 

Cambodians Pich Rithy, 28, and nurse Sambath Chan Chakriya, 35, and  Australian Tammy Davis-Charles, 49, have been charged with being an “intermediary between an adoptive parent and pregnant woman” and “fraudulent requests for documents”.
 

Ms Linna said the hearing was postponed because the court wanted to find the truth and justice for all parties in the case.
 

“The court wanted all relevant parties, the accused, witnesses and plaintiff, to attend the hearing and talk face-to-face,” she added.
 

She did not set a date for a new hearing.
 

The three accused declined to comment when asked by Khmer Times yesterday.
 

Chheang Sorphoan, one of the trio’s lawyers, said the trial delay was within the judge’s jurisdiction but had affected their detention rights and freedom in prison.  
 

“My clients are not guilty of the charges,” he said.
 

He said his clients had been in temporary detention without trial for six months, which was the maximum for a misdemeanour.    
 

Colonel Keo Thea, chief of the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection office in Phnom Penh, said the three had been arrested in November.
 

Police had confiscated Cambodian birth certificates, two passports, a computer, mobile phones and other related documents from them.  
 

“According to their answers during questioning at the police station, they all admitted the offences,” he told Khmer Times.
 

“They confessed that before their arrests, they hired 23 Cambodian women to carry babies for other people, of whom five women had already delivered the babies.
 

“But police did not believe them. We thought that the number of Cambodian women hired by them to carry babies for other people was more than the number they confessed to.”

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