Being tried in absentia by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for having defamed an NGO is not a new experience for me. (“Australian Blogger Convicted of Defaming Anti-Pedophile NGO,” February 9)
In April 2014, Australia’s Citipointe church also sued me—for “threatening to dishonor” the NGO. In both cases, I learned of the charges and the date of the court hearing after having been found guilty.
In 2011, British national David Fletcher likewise learned of the charges against him (rape) and of the verdict (10 years in prison) after closed court proceedings were completed.
The alleged rape victim admitted to two journalists and myself a few years later that she had not been raped, an assertion backed up by the court-appointed doctor who examined the young woman and declared her to still be a virgin.
Mr. Fletcher remains in prison, having never been interviewed by the police or an investigating judge—having never had an opportunity to present evidence in his defense in court.
It is cases such as these that lead Cambodia to be ranked as the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia. If Cambodia wishes to improve its ranking, all accused of a crime, Cambodian and non-Cambodian, should be tried in accordance with the country’s Code of Criminal Procedure.