Police Release French National Arrested on Assault Charges

Jean-Marc Ballestra, 26, was released from police custody Wednesday following a Muni­cipal Court decision not to detain the French national until a court date is set to hear charges he assaulted a Phnom Penh sex worker.

Municipal Court prosecutor Chin Chiva said Thursday that Bal­les­­tra was released because he gave himself up Tuesday to police to answer charges he raped and beat a 22-year-old prostitute after she refused his request for oral sex.

Ballestra, the manager of Jarai, a home-decoration shop off Siso­wath Quay, denies he assaulted the woman, but admits he physically ejected her from a guest house in the Boeng Kak lake area.

The alleged victim of the assault said at the courthouse Tuesday that Ballestra took her to the guest house from a Tuol Kok district brothel early last Thursday morning. Ballestra, who paid around $5 to the brothel owner, later became angry when she refused to perform oral sex, she alleged.

An Immigration Police officer speaking on condition of anon­ymity said Thursday that Balles­tra had been offered the option of paying $200 compensation to the woman to drop the complaint, but Ballestra refused.



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