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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Witch hunt, claims Scott

Witch hunt, claims Scott

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Witch hunt, claims Scott

The Editor,

Your readers may like to know the following:

  1. I have been incarcerated in T3 for over 70 days;
  2. So far none of the allegations have yet been translated into English,

    therefore my defense has not yet begun;

  3. Several of the "15-year-old" boys are suspected by my Khmer friends of being

    in the 17 to 20-year age group.

  4. The original NGO complaint was of under-age sex, yet I have not been charged

    with this - instead, the charge is rape. My lawyer tells me the charge is not

    constitutional rape (i.e. intercourse with consent with a minor) but "real" rape

    (i.e. without consent) and yet only consensual sex is described; furthermore he

    tells me that he is unable to ascertain from NGOs or the judge the reason for

    this charge;

  5. The Khmer press seems to have been licensed to conduct a relentless vicious

    campaign against me; a recent example - an article about me juxtaposed with a

    photo of eight year old street kids;

  6. Intimidation of my friends has occurred. One Khmer employee has had his life

    threatened by one of the complainants. Expatriate supporters have let it be

    known that political factors necessitate low key support. They fear more vocal

    support could jeopardize their job or businesses.

  7. My lawyer visits approximately every ten days.

I would like your readers to see the events through my perspective: a group

of homophobic French NGOs need a publicity case; they solicit "complaints" from

some boys; falsify the ages below 16; and libelously label me a paedophile. But,

after the original interview, the police released me! Immediately these NGOs

have the decision overturned and obtain my further detention. A fabricated and

ludicrous charge of rape is made which further reduces any public sympathy,

guarantees the denial of bail and enables a long "example" to be made of

sentence on conviction. But then the King recommends my release; immediately

these French NGOs write letters of protest - "trés jeune Khmer" (very young

Khmer) is a phrase used - not surprisingly the King's recommendation is

canceled.

I allege malicious activity by these NGOs leading to my illegal

imprisonment. My lawyer was quoted as saying my case was "very difficult" to

defend - I hardly need say that was unhelpful - but he later explained to me

that the difficulties were political. The unofficial reason for the denial of

bail was to prevent me from exposing some unsavory facts that others want

hidden, from exposing the political hypocrisy to the media, and from trying to

establish a fair defense. Why else did the court refuse my offer of house arrest

with guards (at my expense)? My last letter to your newspaper went

unpublished

- lack of space possibly, or the necessity for self censorship in the present

political climate? What I would like to know is how and when I can tell people

my side of the story? (Not at the trial, I'm sure).

King Sihanouk rose

above the prejudice and displayed compassion and common sense when he requested

by release. Is there any Khmer politician willing and strong enough to follow

his lead? Or is Cambodia going to be known as a land where English doctors and

Khmer balloon sellers are imprisoned, and where French NGOs conduct witch hunts

reminiscent of McCarthyism in 50s America? There is no rule of law when that law

is manipulated to suit the likes and dislikes of someone in power.

It was

no coincidence that the chief balloon seller was put in my

cell.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Phnom Penh, NGO investigators solicit more

"complaints", perhaps with the aid of photographs recently taken of my private

parts.

- Gavin Scott, T3 Prison, Phnom Penh.

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