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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Appeal ruling due today on convicted German paedophile

Appeal ruling due today on convicted German paedophile

Boys reiterate German paid for sex over several encounters, while accused says their visits to his house remained strictly platonic.

AFTER hearing fresh statements Thursday from the defence and prosecution, the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh is expected to deliver a ruling today on German national Alexander Moritz Watrin, who is three years into a 10-year prison sentence on paedophilia charges.

The 38-year-old computer designer was arrested by Preah Sihanouk provincial police in February 2006 on charges of engaging in sexual acts with four boys between aged 12 to 15 at his rented home in Mittapheap district.

A provincial court in October 2006 sentenced Watrin to 10 years in prison for debauchery and ordered him to pay US$5,000 in compensation to the victims.

Testimonies questioned

Three of the four boys were present at the hearing. According to their testimony, Watrin had met them on the street and brought them to his home, where - over the course of three separate meetings - they exchanged oral sex and he sodomised them.

They added that he paid them a total of $50 over the course of their encounters. 

Taking the stand in response, Watrin denied any sexual acts took place between them, saying he allowed the boys to eat, bathe and sleep at his home on two occasions because he wanted to give then a reprieve from life on the street.

His defence lawyer, Pich Sorya, told the court that the boy's testimony did not match their comments given after the charges were filed, and he petitioned for a review of court records.

"There are not enough elements to charge my client because the boys' answers are contradictory and unclear," Pich Sorya said. 

Meanwhile, Teng Maneth, the lawyer provided to represent the victims by NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, asked the court to pursue an additional charge of soliciting sex with a minor that falls under recently revised sex crimes and anti-trafficking legislation. If charged, Watrin would be banned from Cambodia after serving his sentence.



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