Swedish Pedophile Conviction Upheld, Court Questions Bribery Allegations

The Court of Appeal on Friday upheld the conviction of a 62-year-old Swedish national for having sex with a 9-year-old boy and committing indecent acts.

Johan Abrahim Escori was found guilty in January of abusing the same boy twice, once in Preah Sihanouk city and again in Phnom Penh, and sentenced him to six and half years in jail and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine.

“The Appeal Court decided to uphold the municipal court’s verdict,” presiding judge Nhoung Thol announced in court. “Mr Escori will not be allowed to live in Cambodia after he finishes his prison sentence.”

Mr Escori was arrested in May 2009 for sexually abusing the boy who he informally adopted in 2007. On Friday, he denied the abuse and added that he paid the boy’s private school fees and provided health insurance.

“I haven’t done anything wrong like what the court has accused me of,” he said through an interpreter.

Judge Thol, questioned Mr Escori about a Swedish news report where Mr Escori allegedly said he would bribe the courts with $11,000 for his release.

Mr Escori said he did the interview but denied the bribe allegations and said, “I don’t have $11,000 to bribe judges because I only get $800 per month sent from Sweden.”

Thuo Mony, a member of the penal judges, said that if the bribery allegations are true, the case would be investigated again.

The victim testified in court on Friday that he was intimidated by police to say he had been abused and trained to give testimony in the original trial.

“In fact, I am 14 years old now,” he said. “The defendant didn’t do anything wrong to me.”

The boy’s mother, Sam Pov, also denied that Mr Escori assaulted her son or that she filed a complaint or asked for compensation.

Defense lawyer Ham Phea said the court’s decision was still wrong because the victim said he was forced to accuse his client of assault.

“The decision of the penal judges is not justice for my client,” he said. “I am not sure whether my client will appeal or not.”


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