Benson Samay, the lawyer defending former Khmer Rouge military chief Ta Mok, will defend the 53-year-old Swiss national arrested last week in Siem Reap on charges of debauchery against young boys.
Speaking by telephone Tuesday evening, Benson Samay said he has been appointed to defend Rudolf Knuchel by the Swiss Embassy. Benson Samay took on the case of Ta Mok last April after a one-month search by the court failed to find anyone willing to defend the guerrilla chief.
Benson Samay maintained the arrest of Knuchel was engineered by three German journalists who suspected Knuchel was a pedophile and were investigating him in Siem Reap town.
“The [embassy] appointed me but [the case] is a frame up. This is not a real story. It is not true. Three journalists intentionally prepared the coup [against Knuchel],” said Benson Samay, referring to last week’s arrest.
However, a legal expert said Tuesday that police have interviewed the two boys found in Knuchel’s room at his arrest and there is no question that a 14-year-old boy “had a long standing relationship with Knuchel.”
Knuchel also claims he was set-up. He denies he is a pedophile and claims he only has helped poor Cambodian children.
“I have always represented the idea and the fact [that] if Cambodia is to change you have to start with the new generations,” Knuchel said in an interview in Siem Reap prison last Friday.
Doctor Beat Richner, founder of three children’s hospitals in Cambodia, said Sunday the revelations, if true, are a tragedy for Cambodian children.
Also a Swiss national, Richner said the Swiss flags decorating Knuchel’s business should be removed as they are an affront to Swiss people who have donated $9 million to the health of Cambodian children. Richner also said there will be need for future psychological support for the boys if they were abused.