March 2014

 Megan Williams

IBJ lawyers came to the aid of a man named Mr. Dara En from Kampong Thom Province in Cambodia by reducing his sentence for a crime he was unaware of committing.

Mr. En is a 19-year-old male that was 18 years of age when the alleged crime took place, living with his parents and siblings in a small village.  Along with the other members of his family, he work hard to provide for his younger siblings and extended family, helping with daily work on their small farm.

Mr. En was arrested by police for cutting down trees in the forest without authorization. At the time of the incident Mr. En did not know that it was illegal to cut down the trees without prior authorization. He was arrested along with 5 others on September 9, 2013 while returning home from work. Mr. En was taken to the local police station where he was held for 24 hours before being transferred to prison where he would remain for four months before his case was brought to trial.

When asked about his experience of being arrested, Mr. En stated that he was in shock and disbelief over what had happened. He did not realize that he was committing a crime and believing his life was over had IBJ not intervened. When taken to the police station, Mr. En states that although conditions at the prison were not ideal, he was not treated badly and police did not torture or ask him for money. Before Mr. En was arrested, he was unaware of the services that IBJ offered. He found out about IBJ through his parents who contacted an IBJ lawyer on their son’s behalf. Before the lawyer arrived, Mr. En was not aware of his legal rights, including the right to an attorney should he request one. Mr. En stated that without the help of IBJ he would still be in prison serving his 1 year sentence.

With the help of an IBJ lawyer, his sentence was reduced to 5 months. This was due in part to the research and due diligence of the IBJ lawyer as well as the cooperation of Mr. En while in police custody. The IBJ lawyer located in Kampong Thom province recounts that the technique used in this case was to review the facts and illustrate that his client did not know what he was doing was illegal. The fact that he had never been in trouble with the law before also helped his case. All this combined with the client’s good behavior while in custody helped the IBJ lawyer attain a reduced sentence for Mr. En.

Mr. En feels happy and extremely grateful to IBJ for assisting him through this process. He feels everyone was supportive and helpful in getting him through this difficult time. Mr. En is now fully aware of his human and legal rights, thanks in part to IBJ’s legal aid services. He never wants something like this to happen again and will be more careful in the future. If something similar was to ever happen to someone he knows, Mr. En will be sure to inform them of their rights so they will not have to experience what he went through before IBJ was able to come to his assistance.

 

 

 

 

 

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