Sex Suspect Said Well Enough for Jail Stay, Official Says

Swiss sex-crime suspect Ru­dolph Knuchel remains at home with loose police supervision even though he is healthy enough to return to jail, a court prosecutor complained this week.

So Vat, Siem Reap Court prosecutor, said that the 53-year-old Knuchel, who was released from prison in March because of a heart ailment, seems to suffer relapses every time officials check to see if he is well enough to be returned to prison.

“He is healthy. But policemen make him sick,” So Vat said. “He immediately gets sick when police officials call to his house.”

Knuchel remains out of prison, even though a request for bail was rejected by Siem Reap Court and the Appeals Court in Phnom Penh.

A final appeal is scheduled to be heard on June 21 by the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Judge Chiv Keng said Tuesday.

Knuchel, owner of the Swiss Center d’Angkor, a restaurant and business center located in the tourist town, was arrested Jan 26 and charged with acts of debauchery against two boys. Knuchel has maintained his innocence throughout and says allegations have been fabricated by boys who he accused of stealing his bicycle.

A Siem Reap court official said Tuesday that the appeals for bail have been the main obstacle to setting a trial date for Knuchel.

By law, a trial is to take place within four months of a suspect being charged, although extensions of two months can be granted.

“Until now we could not say when Knuchel’s case would open for hearing. It depended on the case being returned from the Supreme Court to the Siem Reap Court,” said the court official.

Charges of sexually abusing other underage boys since have been filed with the court, said So Vat. As many as eight boys are expected to testify against the expatriate.

If convicted, Knuchel could face up to 20 years in jail.


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