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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Traffickers appeal to court

Traffickers appeal to court

Two defendants appear at the Court of Appeal Thursday to appeal their 2007 convictions for human trafficking and debauchery.

Two defendants say they were convicted on scanty evidence; extradition hearing for Russian paedophile Trofimov deferred.

THE COURT of Appeal on Thursday postponed an extradition hearing for accused Russian paedophile Alexander Trofimov when he failed to turn up, but heard the appeals of two German and three Vietnamese nationals convicted of human trafficking and debauchery in 2007.

The Appeal Court is scheduled to announce a verdict on Monday following Thursday's three-hour hearing, for which only two of the accused - one German and one Vietnamese - were present, presiding Judge Chaem Vicharit and observers told the Post.

"The two men did not confess before the court today, and they said that there is not enough evidence to press charges against them," said Peng Maneth, a lawyer provided by Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), the anti-paedophile NGO that was involved in the 2006 raid that led to the charges against the group.

Trafficking, abuse charges
The five accused were arrested and sentenced for their roles in trafficking and abusing underage Vietnamese girls following a massive August 2006 police raid on the house of one of the German nationals.

They are appealing their sentences, which could be reduced under new anti-trafficking legislation under which the prison terms of several convicted sex offenders have already been slashed.

According to a letter to the court read by presiding Judge Chaem Vicharit, alleged "mastermind" Karl Heinz Henning was absent from the proceedings because he was "seriously ill" in his Prey Sar prison cell.

The court deemed the letter unofficial because it had not been signed by a doctor.



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