More than a year after Russia requested the extradition of convicted Russian pedophile Stanislav Molodyakov to face child-sex charges in his home country, the Russian Embassy has not received an official response from the Cambodian government, an embassy official said on Friday.
In June, after a year of delays, the Court of Appeal denied the extradition request for Molodyakov—who was arrested under the name Alexander Trofimov—because he had not served the jail sentence given to him for sexually abusing 17 underage girls in Cambodia between 2006 and 2007.
However, according to Anton Zarezov, chief of the Russian Embassy’s consular section, the embassy had not received a reply to an official request to have Molodyakov return to Russia.
Extradition requests are made through diplomatic channels and require an official response following any court ruling, a legal expert said.
Molodyakov—who at the time of his arrest was the executive director of Koh Puos Investment Group, a firm building a $300 million holiday resort on an island off the coast of Preah Sihanouk province—is wanted on warrants in his home country over child-sex charges, which prompted an extradition request from the Russian government.
“The office of the prosecutor general of the Russian Federation sent a request to the Cambodian government for the extradition of Molodyakov,” Mr Zarezov said. “We have received no reply yet.”
Mr Zarezov declined to discuss whether or not the embassy would take any further action regarding Molodyakov’s extradition.
On Thursday, the Court of Appeal reduced the convicted pedophile’s sentence from 17 years in prison to 8 years, with the possibility of parole in less than three years for sexually abusing 17 underage girls.
The reduction in Molodyakov’s sentence drew strong criticism Thursday from anti-human trafficking and human rights workers who said the punishment was completely inadequate considering it was for the country’s largest-ever child-sex case.
Shawn Kohl, deputy field office director for the International Justice Mission, a US anti-human trafficking organization, said he was concerned that Molodyakov would not be extradited after his release and that he would continue to be a danger to Cambodian children.
“We would advocate that once he has been released from prison that his visa is revoked and that he would face additional child molestation charges in Russia,” he said. “That would be the best scenario in terms of protection of children in Cambodia, but the Court of Appeal did not revoke his visa, so our understanding is he will be able to stay in Cambodia back on the street when he gets out of prison.”
Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed Friday that Cambodia had not sent a response to the extradition request.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already forwarded the request to the Ministry of Justice for consideration,” he said. “There has been no response.”
Asked when there would be a reply from the government, Mr Kuong said the case must first be reviewed, and referred questions to the Ministry of Justice. Sam Pracheameanith, chief of Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana’s cabinet, said he had not seen a letter from the Russian government about Molodyakov’s extradition. “I still have not received a letter from the Russian Embassy,” he said.
Appeal Court Judge Sen Sivutha said the denial of extradition has not been appealed, but the request can be renewed.
“They can request to the court anytime if they want,” he said.
Sok Sam Oeun, president of the Cambodian Defenders’ Project, said extradition requests, such as the one from the Russian government, are typically made through diplomatic channels and not through the courts.
“The Russian government must talk to the government. They must have green light from the government,” he said.
“According to the law, if [Molodyakov] does not want to go, he can fight that and go through the Cambodian court again,” he said, adding that the government’s influence often plays a role in such decisions.
He also noted that the Cambodian government frequently pursues the deportation of pedophiles upon release, whether or not they face charges elsewhere.