Mothers Claim NGO Detained 3 Daughters

Three Siem Reap province mothers have filed a complaint against the Cambodian Women’s Cris­­­is Center at the provincial court, claiming that the NGO illegally detained three of their daughters in 2003, officials said Sunday.

CWCC Director Chanthol Oung dismissed the claims, saying the NGO rescued the girls from the home of a convicted rapist, and that his supporters have pressured the mothers to complain.

Han Tun, 41, Soeum Sam, 49, and Pel Phean, whose age is not men­tioned in the complaint, are seek­ing $1,500 in compensation. They claim the CWCC denied their children access to a toilet and intermittently locked them in rooms with mosquitoes inside over a period of 15 days, according to the complaint.

Their daughters are among nine women and girls who were found during a police raid of New Zea­land national Graham Cleg­horn’s Siem Reap home in 2003, Chanthol Oung said. They are now aged between 15 and 18.

The mothers say in their complaint their daughters were not victims of Cleghorn.

Cleghorn was convicted in 2004 of raping five women and is cur­rently serving a 20-year sentence. He has claimed that the CWCC framed him.

“This complaint would not happen without some people at the back who are pushing poor people…. We know very well who is be­­hind it,” Chanthol Oung said.

She added that a team of foreigners and Cambodians are working on Cleghorn’s behalf, but declined to name them.

So Vat, chief prosecutor at the court, said the allegations will be thoroughly investigated.

At the June 1 Appeals Court hear­­ing for Bart “Lucky” Lauwaert, an Australian convicted of child sex crimes in 2003 following a CWCC probe, nine women and girls who had originally testified against him drop­ped their testimony.

The females claimed the CWCC had groomed them to lie with offers of $5,000 each. CWCC de­nied the allegation, claiming a pedo­phile syndicate had tampered with the witnesses. The court up­held Lauwaert’s conviction.

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