The Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed German pedophile Alexander Moritz Watrin’s appeal against his 2006 conviction for sexually abusing four boys aged between 12 and 15.
Watrin was seeking to overturn the 10-year sentence handed to him by Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court, reduced to seven years in 2009 after human trafficking laws replaced older laws on debauchery. The Supreme Court referred the case back to the appeal court in April, citing irregularities surrounding witness testimony.
“We decided to uphold the verdict…because we have enough evidence against him,” presiding Judge Seng Sivutha said in the verdict.
The court decided to halve the amount of compensation the victims are due, from about $5,000 each to about $2,500, Judge Sivutha said, but he did not explain why.
Speaking at the hearing yesterday, Watrin maintained his innocence.
“It’s a bad thing the court has accused me of, because I didn’t have sex with those boys,” he said.
Watrin’s lawyer Pich Sorya said the court failed to fulfill the Supreme Court’s instructions when it did not conduct further medical examinations of the victims as part of its investigation.
“The verdict is not right because the Court of Appeal did not investigate the evidence,” he said.
Samleang Seila, country director of the anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, which is providing legal representation to the victims, welcomed the verdict.
He said the number of foreign pedophiles arrested on child sex charges in Cambodia had gone down this year–17 so far in 2010, as opposed to 26 last year–because of the strong preventative work carried out by APLE.