Austrian Given 10-Year Sentence for Sex Charges

Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday sentenced a 65-year-old Austrian national already convicted in absentia for debauchery in 2006, to an additional 10 years in pri­son for having sexual intercourse with two 14-year-old boys in September 2007.

Olaf Achleitner was given two prison sentences of five years each under article 42 of the new anti-human trafficking law, according to the verdict announced by Muni­cipal Court Judge Ke Sakhorn, chief of the three-judge panel presiding over the case. Achleitner was also ordered to pay $2,000 in compensation to the two victims.

Ke Sakhorn said that Ach­leitner’s new jail sentence would begin after he served the 10-year debauchery sentence handed down to him in 2006.

The Municipal Court convicted Achleitner of debauchery in absentia in October 2006 for sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy.

Following Tuesday’s verdict, Achleitner told a reporter that he was innocent in both the 2006 and 2007 cases and added that he will appeal the municipal court’s decision.

“I didn’t know anything about the absentia trial in 2006, and in 2008—that’s when I heard it” Ach­leitner said at the court.

“How can the court try someone in absentia?”

Noun Phanith, a lawyer at the anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour les Enfants, welcomed the conviction, but was discouraged by what he felt were inadequate jail sentences.

“The sentence was at the lowest level,” he said, adding that the judges should have given Ach­leitner 10 years in prison for each count, the maximum punishment provided by the new law for repeated offenses.

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