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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - APLE to sue for defamation

APLE to sue for defamation

THE director of child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) said Monday that he is preparing to file a defamation complaint against a defence lawyer who on Sunday accused his organisation of engaging in entrapment when pursuing paedophilia cases.

Dun Vibol, who regularly represents foreign paedophile suspects, on Sunday told the Post that he believed entrapment had been employed by APLE “in most sex cases related to foreigners”, a claim he had previously made in court on several occasions. His comments came two days after Sok Sam Oeun, director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, a legal aid NGO, told a conference, without naming specific organisations, that he also believed entrapment was employed in such cases.

“We will file a complaint following the story,” APLE Director Samleang Seila said on Monday. “He has said [these allegations] in a trial before, which is legal. But if he spoke about this outside the trial, legally we can file a [defamation] complaint against him.”

He said he would file the complaint within “a couple of days”.

He also said he was still waiting to receive a reply from the Bar Association of Cambodia concerning a complaint filed against Dun Vibol in June of last year, and that he planned to file a new complaint if he did not hear back soon.

The complaint accuses Dun Vibol of submitting false documents and paying bribes while defending one of his clients, Frenchman Jacques Bernard Rene Collinet, who was convicted last September of purchasing child prostitution and given a three-year prison sentence, two years of which were suspended.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court found that the female victim in the case was 16 years old when the sex act in question occurred. The complaint from Samleang Seila accuses Dun Vibol of forging documents to make the case that she was actually 19 at the time, and of paying an official a bribe of US$50 to certify the documents.

“We have filed a complaint with the Bar Association against Dun Vibol for submitting fake evidence to the court,” Samleang Seila said, adding that the association had told him last month that the case required further investigation.

Chiv Songhak, the president of the Bar Association, said Monday that he was too busy to comment because he was in a meeting.

But Don Vibol denied the allegations, saying the victim’s family book didn’t accurately state her birth date.

“There was something erased over the year 1993,” he said. “I wanted to confirm with police officials to certify she was born in 1990.”

He said he had paid $50 in “tea money” to Hang Socheat, the deputy police chief of Kampong Krosang commune, in Takeo province’s Borei Cholsa district, to expedite the process of getting the form changed.

He added that he was not concerned about the prospect of a defamation lawsuit, saying, “I have enough evidence in my hands to prove [APLE’s] investigations entrap foreigners.”

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