German National Gets Violent After Indecency Sentencing

A 61-year-old German national who was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison for “indecent acts” with a 14-year-old girl lashed out violently at reporters following the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s verdict.

In addition to the jail sentence, municipal court Judge Iv Kim­sry also ordered Jopen Reimund Hubert to pay $2,000 in compensation to the victim and a $750 court fine.

Hubert was arrested and charged in November on suspicion of sexually abusing the girl over a period of two years. Police questioned him after he was spotted taking her to his hotel room in Phnom Penh. At the time, the pair lived in Sihanoukville with the girl’s older sister, who was Hubert’s girlfriend at the time.

During the trial, the victim’s lawyer, Peng Maneth, requested that the court try Hubert under the 1996 debauchery law, which is punishable with 10 to 20 years in prison. But the German, a retired IT engineer, was found guilty under the newly enacted anti-human trafficking law, which mandates a far less stringent sentence.

“Is it acceptable?” said Peng Maneth, an attorney with the anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants. “The punishment is too light—one to three years—and the other one, 10 to 20 years.”

Hubert told the court he didn’t abuse the 14-year-old, rather, that they were living together as a family. Furthermore, Hubert claimed that he was impotent, and could not have abused the young girl.

“I cannot have sex,” he told the court.

Deputy Prosecutor Sok Kalyan told the court that police had confiscated naked pictures of the girl from Hubert’s laptop computer.

Leaving the courtroom, the heavily-built Hubert hid his face with a blue plastic bag, taunting onlookers by sticking his tongue out while walking to a waiting prison van. At one point, Hubert grabbed a Reuters news agency photographer by the neck and kicked a Cambodia Daily reporter.

“I was not scared,” Reuters photographer Chor Sokunthea said. “I am used to it,” he said. “When we take their pictures, they are not happy.”

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