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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Belgian police seek rape suspect

Belgian police seek rape suspect

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belgia.jpg

Rudi Demasure

BELGIAN police are investigating the possibility of prosecuting Phnom Penh-based

Belgian businessman Rudy Demasure for allegedly raping his 14-year-old Vietnamese

maid on February 7, according to documents obtained by the Post.

Charges against Demasure were dropped on June 22 in a case that Cambodian child protection

organizations describe as a model of impunity enjoyed by foreign child sex suspects

in Cambodia.

"Belgian national Rudy Demasure (who illegally uses the title of 'Dr' in his

Cambodian contacts) was recently arrested in Phnom Penh on charges of raping a minor

girl ... [his] dismissal is worrisome," reads a fax dated September 8 from Lieutenant

Colonel John Allaert of the Belgian Federal Police Liaison Office at the Royal Belgian

Embassy in Bangkok to Cambodia's Human Rights Action Committee (HRAC).

"I would very much like to receive as much information as possible ... in order

to establish whether there are sufficient grounds for a prosecution of Mr Demasure

in Belgium in the framework of our extraterritorial laws."

The interest of the Belgian authorities in De-masure's case has been welcomed by

HRAC representatives, who claim that the teenage victim and her family have been

subjected to continual threats and intimidation by individuals allegedly working

on Demasure's behalf.

In the most recent incident, two Phnom Penh Municipal Court officials and a policeman

are alleged to have visited the victim and her family in Prey Veng on August 25 and

forced them to thumbprint a document promising they would not seek to appeal against

Demasure's dismissal.

"They told the family that they had already received $1300 [in compensation

from Demasure] and that they shouldn't complain ... that a person could be hired

to kill the family for only $1000," said a HRAC spokesperson, who spoke on condition

of anonymity due to fear of reprisals from Demasure.

Post attempts to contact Demasure's lawyer, Ang Udom, were unsuccessful.

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