Siem Reap province
SIEM Reap provincial court yesterday sentenced a Norwegian man to three years in prison after finding him guilty of purchasing sex from a teenage boy in January this year, though half of the sentence was suspended.
Rolf Sletten, 63, was arrested in Siem Reap and charged with buying sex from a 16-year-old boy in January. Last Wednesday, the mother of the victim, who had previously demanded 20 million riels (US$4,750) in compensation from Sletten, asked authorities to drop the complaint because the boy claimed in court that he actually had not had sex with the man.
“I asked to withdraw the complaint because my son said he did not suffer like he said he did to police,” she said yesterday.
But defence lawyer Bunphann Phuon said the judges did not believe the retraction.
He said he disagreed with the guilty verdict, and that there was not enough evidence to convict his client.
“I think that my client should be freed,” he said, and added that he would discuss with his client whether to appeal.
Meanwhile, Peng Maneth, a lawyer provided to the victim by the child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said she believed the sentence was too light, and that the perceived leniency of Cambodian courts was contributing to an increase in sex crimes.
She also lamented the fact that Sletten had not been ordered to leave the country upon the completion of his sentence.
“Court judges should use deportation measures in order to decrease such crimes,” she said.
Also yesterday, a British man arrested Sunday on suspicion of soliciting child sex was sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court, but court officials transferred him back to police for another night because there was no time to question him.
Deputy prosecutor Koeur Bonnara said he had instructed police to return the man, along with three other Cambodians arrested in connection with the case, to the police station because he “was busy in a meeting”.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHRANN CHAMROEUN AND CAMERON WELLS