The Appeal Court yesterday slashed 18 years off the sentence of a man convicted of child sex charges, drawing the condemnation of an NGO who helped bring about his conviction.
German national Karl Heinz Henning, 67, who was sentenced to 28 years in prison following his 2006 arrest – is now eligible for release in 2016.
Defence lawyer Peung Yok Hiep yesterday said her client will make an application to walk free even sooner.
“My client is sick and he wants the court to drop the charge against him,” she said.
“He has already served more than two-thirds of his jail term, so we can apply for a Royal Pardon from the King.”
Henning was arrested along with another German national and three Vietnamese nationals. Four naked Vietnamese girls aged 10 to 14 were found when police raided his home.
Yok Hiep said the sentence reduction came because her client was convicted under the previous penal code, but on appeal, was tried under the new code.
But NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), whose investigation led to an arrest, said the court had dropped two of three charges.
“With all the undoubted evidence and testimonies . . . it is absurd that he will be convicted only for Purchase of Child Prostitution,” APLE country director Seila Samleang said in a statement.
Previously, Henning had also been charged with procurement with regard to child prostitution and buying or exchanging a person with purpose.
“A verdict of 10 years for all the crimes that was proved he committed with such a high level of severity does not bring any justice to the victims,” Samleang said.
According to APLE’s statement, evidence showed that Henning on multiple occasions had “paid for traffickers to bring children to his apartment, where he would tie, whip and rape them from three to four hours and then send them back to the traffickers”.
He was also in possession of the largest collection of child pornography in Cambodia’s history, the statement said.