German Pedophile Convicted In Absentia Arrested in Britain

A convicted German pedophile who fled Cambodia in early 2006 has resurfaced in Britain after police found him working as a nurse in the children’s ward of at least three hospitals, according to British media reports and rights workers in Cambodia.

The Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court originally convicted Lars Erik Gellner in absentia on 10 counts of debauchery in February 2007. He was accused of abusing six children and fled Cambodia about one year before the court handed down a guilty verdict, ac-cording to the anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants.

The 37-year-old German national is in British police custody after his arrest in October for trying to apply for a visa for a 14-year-old Burm-ese boy he wanted to bring into the country, British newspapers said Monday. Thames Valley police officers said he was also arrested for fraud and failing to disclose information on his background.

Police from Thames Valley said he appeared in court last week, but that the judge was forced to throw out the case after documents from Cambodia related to his conviction here for child sex abuse could not be supplied.

Seila Samleang, country director of APLE, said police in Sihanouk-ville city “lost” a court summons signed by Gellner, thereby depriving the British court of proof Gell-ner knew about his child sex abuse charges in Cambodia. Other court documents, such as his conviction, were drawn up while he was out of the country and bore no signature.

The British Embassy in Phnom Penh directed all questions to the German Embassy, which did not respond Tuesday to phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment.

In addition, current and past officials at Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court could neither recall the case nor locate any of its documents.

Svay Sisaroth, the court’s oft-criticized director during the time of Gellner’s trial who now works at the Ministry of Justice, said she did not remember the case.

“You may ask someone in the court to check the documents. I have transferred to the Ministry of Justice since Feb 20,” she said Tuesday. “I can not remember that case.”

Yim Bunreth, the chief clerk at the provincial court, said he had no documents on the case and could not comment.

“I do not know about the case. I have no documents. You may ask the judge,” he said. When asked for the name of the judge, Yim Bunreth said he did not know it.

Former Preah Sihanouk Prov-incial Court Prosecutor Meas So-pheak and current Court Director Sim Dem couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.


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