Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court yesterday charged Meang Vichet, the man accused of murdering two children in Preah Sihanouk province, with murder accompanied by torture or rape, meaning he faces life behind bars if convicted.
On May 29, the bodies of 10-year-old Pha Srey Leak and her two year-old brother Pha Sok Ly were found at their home in Prey Nop district’s Bit Traing commune. Mr Vichet has confessed to raping and killing the girl, and killing her bother.
On Sunday, National Police arrested Mr Vichet, 26, and his wife Sam Soriya, 26, at their home province of Prey Veng after the duo fled Preah Sihanouk.
Deputy prosecutor Lim Bun Heng yesterday said Mr Vichet was charged with murder with aggravating circumstances and murder accompanied by torture, cruelty and rape in accordance with Articles 202 and 505 of the Criminal Code.
According to Article 202 of the Criminal Code, murder with aggravating circumstances carries a 15 to 30 year sentence, while Article 505 states that murder accompanied by torture, cruelty and rape carries a life sentence.
“The investigating judge has decided to place the defendant in pretrial detention in prison,” Mr Bun Heng added.
Major General Chuon Narin, chief of provincial police, said Mr Vichet was sent to court yesterday afternoon at about 3pm.
Maj Gen Narin said Ms Soriya was allowed to return home yesterday after police found that she was not involved.
“We released her and allowed her to return home after learning that she was not an accomplice,” he said.
According to a police report obtained by Khmer Times on Monday, Mr Vichet confessed that he killed the victims after consuming drugs and alcohol.
“After drinking, he exited his home to look for his wife who went to buy him food and saw the kids playing outside of their home,” the report said. “After seeing an opportunity, he held the girl’s hand and led her into her home and told the boy to stay outside.”
“As he was raping her, the girl shouted and the boy went inside to check on his sister,” the report added. “He cried and the suspect slapped him six times and kicked him in the neck, causing his head to hit the wall.”
Cheap Sotheary, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, yesterday said those found guilty of committing heinous crimes against children should be punished. However, she said that the public should refrain from taking the law into their own hands.
“We ask the court to follow the law and punish anyone who committed these crimes,” Ms Sotheary said, adding that her organisation is aware that some people are aiming to take revenge on the suspect without due process. “We ask that prison guards ensure the safety of the suspect because even in prison, prisoners might learn of what the suspect is accused of.”