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Expat admits to child porn pictures

expat

Photo by: Pha Lina
Mathias Cassar leaves Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.

A French national admitted producing child pornography at his trial in Phnom Penh yesterday, saying that he had needed to earn money to help buy medicine for his sick girlfriend. 

Mathias Cassar, a 35-year-old photographer and designer, was charged with producing child pornography on March 9, while his girlfriend, Duong Savy, 25, was charged with being an accomplice. 

Presiding judge at Phnom Penh Municipal Court Din Sivuthy said they were arrested by police at their rented house in the Russey village of Meanchey district’s Stung Meanchey commune following complaints from the families of eight children aged between eight and 12 years old. 

“Mathias Cassar was arrested, along with his girlfriend, while he was taking pornographic photographs of three under-age girls inside his room. He was the mastermind of this child pornography,” he said, adding that police had confiscated two computers, 11 cameras and a collection of pornographic photos and videos of children from his home. 

Yeth Khemara, deputy prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said Cassar had entered Cambodia as a tourist in 2007.“His Cambodian girlfriend had also been involved with his activities because she assisted him in finding or lobbying the young girls for taking the pictures in exchange for US$3 to $10 per series of photos,” he claimed.  

Cassar confessed to the court that he had produced child pornography, but said he had only done so on three occasions in early 2011. He added that he had committed the crime to earn money to help his girlfriend who has HIV/AIDS. 

“I decided to take child pornography photos three times in 2011 because I had no money and I needed it to treat my girlfriend’s sickness,” he said. “She has HIV/AIDS and she needed the money to buy medicines.  I would like to ask the court to reduce my sentence.” 

Cassar’s girlfriend, Doung Savy, said in court yesterday: “I know about my mistakes now and my [boyfriend] did this activity because he wanted to help me. I would like to ask the court to reduce our sentences. We promise that we will not commit it again when we are freed in the future.”

 Nuon Pheanith, a lawyer for the eight victims, said the eight victims were requesting combined compensation of US$55,000 in addition to the deportation of the suspect after his prison time had been served, if he is found guilty next week. Din Sivuthy said their verdicts would be announced on June 21.

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