Interior Official Requests Keeler Be Freed

A Ministry of Interior police officer who claims to be the nephew of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s deceased mother has asked that a British headmaster sentenced to prison for making pornographic videos of young girls be set free.

Kandal provincial court prosecutor Chheng Phath said the officer, Sam Vuthy, contacted him on Monday and asked that the court reconsider its decision to sentence John Keeler to three years in prison.

“Sam Vuthy said he would make a request to King Noro­dom Sihanouk to grant [Keeler] amnesty if the court could not solve this problem,” Chheng Phath said.

Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said Sam Vuthy is acting on his own and the ministry is not officially involved.

“I’m sure the King will not let [Keeler] go, because he committed a serious crime,” said Khieu Sopheak, who added he did not know Sam Vuthy.

Chheng Phath said Sam Vuth­y, who could not be reached for com­ment, told him Keeler should not be in prison because he has a mental illness and he also has to take care of the London School for English in Phnom Penh, of which Keeler is the head.

Court officials said it’s up to the appeals court to decide what will happen next to Keeler, who has two months to appeal the verdict.  After the verdict was read, Keeler announced that he paid a $5,400 bribe to be set free and went on a tirade during which he threw furniture and broke a fan. Court officials are meeting to decide whether to keep Keeler in prison based on his actions Monday.

“We did not yet decide if his actions on Monday are related to his mental illness,” Chheng Phath said. “Some of his actions were just meant to look down on Cambodia.”

Keeler was arrested in August for taking obscene videos of four young girls at a park in Takhmau district in Kandal.



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