After serving less than four-and-a-half years of what was originally a 17-year sentence, Russian pedophile Stanislav Molodyakov—convicted of sexually abusing 16 girls in the country’s largest pedophile case—was quietly released from Preah Sihanouk prison on Tuesday afternoon.
Molodyakov, 44, who is better known by his alias Alexander Trofimov, was arrested in October 2007 for three separate cases involving underage girls. In one case, he was found guilty of committing indecent acts on 15 underage girls, and in the others, he was found guilty of buying sex with children.
Initially sentenced to 17 years, Molodyakov’s term was consolidated by the Court of Appeal last year to a mere eight years. Parole can be granted for good behavior after two-thirds of a prisoner’s sentence is served, while a Royal Decree issued in August shaved an additional six months off Molodyakov’s sentence.
Preah Sihanouk Provincial Prison chief Pech Veasna said Molodyakov was listed on a more recent Royal pardons list, which made him eligible for release on the grounds of good behavior.
“During his imprisonment, he demonstrated good behavior and a good attitude and never caused difficulties in the prison. Especially: he always recognized the rules of the prison,” said Mr. Veasna. Kuy Bunsorn, director general of the General Department of Prisons, declined to comment on the case, but his deputy, Lieu Mauv said Mr. Trofimov was among 91 inmates granted release by a recent royal decree.
Prince Sisowath Thomico said yesterday the palace had no information on who was listed on the Royal decree, and referred questions to the Council of Ministers, which is responsible for drawing up the list of parolees. Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan could not be reached for comment.
It was not clear yesterday where Molodyakov went following his release. Prison chief Veasna said he was not sure where he went and knew only that he was released Tuesday afternoon.
At the time of his arrest Molodyakov was executive director of Koh Puos Investment Group, which was building a $300 million resort on the province’s Koh Puos island. The firm’s director of sales and marketing, Marina Khrisanova, said yesterday that ties had been completely severed with Molodyakov years ago and she had no information on his whereabouts.
While the Russian government has repeatedly requested the extradition of Molodyakov-who is wanted by Interpol for sex crimes against children–it was unclear yesterday whether he would indeed be deported.
Russian newspapers detail a litany of crimes he committed, including the rape of six 9- to 10-year-old girls, whom he lured to his mansion with the promise of modeling contracts. Shortly after his arrest, Russian authorities filed an extradition request that the Cambodian government seemingly refused to respond to.
Pavel Sesnakov, head of the consular section of the Russian Embassy, said the embassy did not know of Molodyakov’s release.
“We have not received any official information from Cambodian authorities concerned on the release of Russian national Mr. Alexander Trofimov,” he wrote via email, adding that the extradition request had not yet been executed.
Preah Sihanouk Provincial Governor Sboang Sarath said he had only just learned of Molodyakov’s release yesterday.
“It’s a national case, so I cannot speak about this,” he said, when asked whether he was concerned that a known pedophile had been set free in Sihanoukville. Mr. Sarath added that Molodyakov did not earn early release because of his role as a significant investor in the region.
“I think that Mr. Trofimov was not a tycoon but was just a researcher who managed Koh Puos. If he were a tycoon, he would not have committed crimes like this.”
Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and Major General Keo Vanthan, director of Cambodia’s Interpol office, could not be reached.
Rights groups reacted to Molodyakov’s release with shock. Samleang Seila, country director at anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, which was involved in the case, said that Molodyakov’s actions were now the responsibility of those who had released him.
“We are checking with the prison for [a] clear explanation about the release,” he said. “I have no comment yet, but APLE has done everything it can in this case to protect children. From now on it is [up to] the authority of the two countries to take any decision that is best for children.”
Chin Chanveasna, executive director at End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking in Cambodia, said he was stunned and called the move “unbelievable.”
“I totally object. I don’t agree with this at all. There’s no justification that he will not commit these crimes again. He should have served his sentence to full term, and have been immediately deported and banned from entering Cambodia…just to make sure no other children would be victimized.”