Debauchery Trials To Start This Week

Two Italian nationals, both ac­cused of debauchery, will go to trial this week in Poipet and Phnom Penh. Both men have been detained longer than the maximum six-month pre-trial detention period.

Luigi Falchi was arrested in Poi­pet Nov 26 after being accused of sexually molesting three young boys and has been in Banteay Mean­chey provincial prison since then. Falchi, 28, allegedly paid four older boys to bring him the youngsters, aged 10, 11 and 12.

Falchi will be tried Thursday for debauchery and faces be­tween five and 15 years in prison, said Banteay Meanchey chief prosecutor Nhoung Thol.

“The suspect was detained for more than six months because we do not have an Italian speaker to interpret during the trial,” Nhoung Thol said.

Nhoung Thol said that an Ital­ian speaking interpreter has been sent from the Italian Embassy in Bang­kok.

In Phnom Penh, the trial of Alain Berruti will begin on Fri­day, after a series of fits and starts.

Berruti was arrested after po­lice saw him allegedly engaging in sexual acts with young boys in public in June 2001. He went to trial May 5, but the trial was postponed when Berruti refused his court appointed lawyer.

Berruti’s current lawyer, Chhor Li­thay, said he was appointed soon after the first trial was canceled.

Nop Sophon, chief judge for Phnom Penh’s municipal court, said last month that the delay was a result of the court’s lacking funds for an interpreter.

Chhor Lithay complained about the lengthy pre-trial detention period. “The court is violating the legal process,” he said. “This is a common thing in Cambodian courts.”

The interpreter from the Italian Embassy in Bangkok will not be present at the Phnom Penh trial. A representative from the French Embassy will provide basic consular services for Berruti, a French consular official said.

Only one foreign national—Brit­on Jon Keeler in 2000—has been successfully prosecuted for pedophilia in Cambodia.


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