An Italian man was sentenced to ten years in jail after he was found guilty of pedophilia
at the Phnom Penh municipal court. Alain Berruti was convicted of debauchery on July
"The court has enough evidence," said Judge Nop Sophon. "Alain Fillipo
Berruti committed sex with Cambodian children on June 14 and 15, 2001."
Berruti, a 30-year-old electrician from Milan, was convicted on the strength of Article
8 of the human trafficking law which states that anyone who commits debauchery on
those under 15, even with their consent, will be jailed for between ten and 20 years.
Berruti rejected the sentence, even though he admitted he had sexual relations with
the boys. He said there was insufficient evidence.
"I refute the sentence and the allegations and will appeal immediately in the
hope that one day justice will be done," he said, adding that he knew he had
broken the law. "But these boys are the same as before. They come from the streets
- they are prostitutes. I had the [sex] experience with them for a small amount of
Berruti arrived in Cambodia on a tourist visa on June 9 last year. After the verdict
he told reporters that Asia was a good travel destination, but that this was the
first time he had committed sex acts with young boys. He said he understood prison
conditions were bad, but had a good feeling about staying in the country.
"In other countries I can't find any available boys," he said. "Though
Cambodia is a poor country, I want to live here. Every day I can see the sun and
Chum Sophea, who was appointed lawyer for the victims, said the sentence was too
lenient, and complained that the compensation ordered paid to the victims' families
- between $250 to $500 - was insufficient.
Two other Westerners are awaiting trial for similar crimes. Luigi Falchi, a 28-year-old
Italian, will appear in court in Banteay Meanchey August 1 charged with having sex
with three minors in Poipet.
And in Sihanoukville, the court will hear the adjourned case of Frenchman Pierre
Guynot on July 26. Guynot was released from custody in December after the judge ruled
there was insufficient evidence to convict him and ordered further investigation.
Guynot was arrested in May 2001 at his Sihanoukville home and imprisoned for six
months. He was charged with illegal confinement of a boy, illegal possession of weapons,
and the sexual abuse of minors.
Guynot was accused earlier this year of using his freedom to buy the silence of his
accusers. Their lawyer alleged to the Post in April that Guynot had offered their
families $600 each to withdraw their testimony.