Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday sentenced a 68-year-old Swiss man to 11 years in prison for the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl.
Announcing the verdict following Friday’s trial, which was closed to the public, presiding Judge Chan Madina also ordered Hurni Hans Ulrich to pay $1,232 in compensation to the parents of his victim, adding that he would be banned from Cambodia after serving his sentence.
“Understanding that he is elderly and committed this crime for the first time in Cambodia, the court has decided to punish Hurni Hans Ulrich…to 11 years in prison counting from the day of his arrest,” the judge said.
Police said at the time of the Aug 31 arrest that the victim had been discovered naked with Ulrich in his room at Phnom Penh’s Asia Hotel on Monivong Boulevard, and that he had subsequently admitted to paying between $5 and $10 for sex with the girl over two years.
Keo Thea, deputy director of the municipal anti-human trafficking police department, said at the time that the victim also told police she had had sex with Ulrich.
Ulrich told reporters on Tuesday that he was innocent, that his trial had been unfair and that he would likely die before completing his sentence.
“No, never fair,” he said. “I never abuse. She was happy with me,” he added of his victim. “I support the family. She loves me.”
Samphon Sopharat, a lawyer with the French anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants who acted on behalf of the victim, said she had asked for Ulrich to be banned from Cambodia following his sentence.
“He is a most dangerous person for Cambodian children,” she said.