A 53-year-old Swiss national charged with sexually abusing underage Cambodian boys has been temporarily released from Siem Reap provincial prison after a suspected heart attack, court officials said Monday.
Siem Reap Court Prosecutor So Vat said that Rudolph Knuchel was allowed to return to his Siem Reap home under police guard early last week because of the suspected heart attack.
“We were worrying that he would die if he stayed any longer in prison,” said So Vat, adding that court officials will inspect Knuchel’s health next week to see if he is fit to return to prison.
“It seems very strange that he was released but not admitted to hospital….The families of the witnesses who are to give evidence [against Knuchel] are very concerned,” one rights worker said.
Chanthol Oung, director of the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center, added Monday that members of her staff saw Knuchel at a Siem Reap restaurant last week. So Vat acknowledged Knuchel was at a restaurant, but under police watch. According to So Vat, Knuchel was not admitted to the town’s hospital because the standard of care is not good enough. Kong Rithy, a private doctor in Siem Reap, said Monday he met Knuchel once.
“At that time he was seriously sick. I gave him some medicine to reduce high blood pressure,” said Kong Rithy. “I advised him to see a heart expert in Phnom Penh.”
because I have no experience with that [ailment].”
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. Subsequent charges of sexually abusing three other underage boys were filed earlier this month. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in jail.