Sex Offender: Starvation Better Than Prison

Convicted British sex offender John Keeler vowed Monday to starve himself to death if he is sent back to prison to serve a three-year sentence for videotaping four young Cambodian girls in sexually explicit poses.

During an interview at Kandal provincial hospital where he has been receiving medical attention and food since Nov 30—when he ended a 10-day prison hunger strike—Keeler said death was better than returning to jail.

“I just can’t face doing three years in that horrible place,” he said. “It’s a fast to death rather than a hunger strike because I don’t expect to achieve anything but my death.” Keeler stopped  fasting when he was admitted to the hospital for acute stomach pain.

He was sentenced to three years in jail Nov 20 on charges of debauchery. He denies he is a pedophile, but admits videotaping the four girls, who are be­tween 8 and 10 years old.

Surrounded by books and food in a private hospital room, Keeler said he is staging the protest to highlight his unfair treatment at the hands of the courts and his lawyer, whom he accuses of taking $5,400 that was supposed to be paid as bribe money to have charges against him dropped.

“[The lawyer] said they were negotiating and then they said everything was fixed and guaranteed that [I] would be released,” Keeler said.

The $5,400 allegedly given to the lawyer was to pay a court fine, compensation and a bribe to be shared between the prosecutor and the trial judge.

Keeler says he was double-crossed by his lawyer, who pocketed the money and allowed him to go to prison following a court hearing which he says was flawed from the beginning.

“I paid everything and I get three years,” said Keeler, adding that the blame for the lewd content of the video should be placed on the children, whom he claims volunteered to appear in the video.

Lawyer Choy Phally denied Monday that she knew about the $5,400. She said Keeler still owes her money for her legal services.

Chheng Phat, chief prosecutor of Kandal’s court, said that Cam­bodian prisons are not hotels, and Keeler’s prison sentence will continue unless the government negotiates with the British Em­bassy to extradite him back to Britain to face sentencing there.

Muong Sam Arth, chief of Kandal provincial prison, said Keeler will be returned to prison despite his threats of starvation. “If he gets sick we will take him to the hospital again,” he said.

Keeler, who criticized the Brit­ish Embassy for not using its influence to keep him out of prison, said he is being used as a scapegoat by Cambodians who are angry at the lack of convictions against foreign sex offenders.

“I am not responsible for all of the things other people have done: Swiss, Germans, Japanese, Australians,” said Keeler, adding that his crime was very minor. “All those people had their embassies get them out.”





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