US pedophile suspect Terry Darrell Smith was deported from Cambodia on Saturday under the supervision of US marshals following a request by the US Embassy, Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Monday.
Smith stands accused of sex crimes both at his Sihanoukville guesthouse and in the US.
“Since this suspect is also wanted by the American warrant and according to a request by the US Embassy…we agreed,” Khieu Sopheak said.
Sihanoukville Municipal Court Director Svay Sisarouth released Smith, 54, and his Cambodian girlfriend Chea Sovannary, 26, on Aug 31, one month after charging them both with debauchery. The release sparked outrage from at least one anti-pedophile NGO. Owing to the outcry, Smith was rearrested in Phnom Penh on Sept 20.
Smith was accused of having sex with two girls aged 13 and 14 at his bar and filming the abuse. The court said it released him because he was too sick to remain behind bars, a claim that was later denied by the doctor who conducted the examination.
An official with the anti-pedophile NGO International Justice Mission said Smith was flown to Bangkok at 6 pm Saturday and after a two-hour layover, escorted to Los Angeles.
Svay Sisarouth said she was concerned that Smith would not now face justice in Cambodia.
“The process is wrong,” she said. “[The deportation] is already illegal,” she claimed.
Mu Sochua, former minister of women’s affairs and now a member of the SRP, said she found the judge’s concerns peculiar, given that Svay Sisarouth made the controversial decision to release Smith.
“It’s a case that is so totally mishandled…the judge cannot avoid responsibility,” she added.
(Additional reporting by Prak Chan Thul)