Appeals Court Opens Hearing in Violent Child Trafficking Case
The couple is accused of beating and sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl after purchasing her from Theoung Ret for $400.
PHNOM PENH - The Appeals Court on Monday opened a hearing in a gruesome child trafficking case, in which a married couple is accused of torturing a young girl.
In 2010, Phnom Penh Municipal Court found Va Saroeun and his wife, Meas Nary, who are both high school teachers, guilty of child trafficking and torture, while it found Theoung Ret, 64, guilty of child trafficking.
The couple is accused of beating and sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl after purchasing her from Theoung Ret for $400. Theoung Ret is alleged to have bought the girl from her mother.
Va Saroeun and Meas Nary were sentenced to 10 years each for purchasing the girl and abusing her, while Theoung Ret received a five-year sentence, for selling the girl. The three have denied the charges and appealed. A decision is expected from the Appeals Court next month.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the victim described scenes of horrific torture, saying she had been slapped in the face, had her arms twisted and her genitals abused with pliers. She said she was beaten with wires and had two of her bones broken. When she was discovered, she had at least 200 bruises on her body.
The couple defended their actions in court, saying they had meant to “re-educate” the girl and had not abused her. Theoung Ret said she had not sold the girl, but had received money from the couple as thanks for raising her.
Defense attorney Eum March argued that the punishment handed down by the lower court was “much graver” than the injuries suffered by the girl.