A Vietnamese national charged with torturing a toddler was tried in absentia in a Mondulkiri court yesterday, where his Dutch boyfriend also faces charges in connection to the alleged abuse.
The crime sent shockwaves across Cambodia and the world after videos of the young child being tasered and sexually assaulted were posted to the internet in December.
The alleged perpetrator, Nguyen Tangdung, 25, fled to Vietnam with the alleged assistance of his partner, Dutch national, Stefan Struik, but was arrested by Vietnamese police in Ho Chi Minh City.
Tangdung’s confession was read aloud in court, according to a Child Protection Unit court observer, who asked to remain anonymous. Tangdung confessed that he tortured the child because he was under the influence of drugs, she said.
Struik, meanwhile, “confessed that he did not commit the torture, but he knew about the incident”.
Tangdung was charged under Article 211 of the Cambodian Criminal Code – torture or barbarous acts with aggravating circumstances due to the young age of the victim – which is punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison.
Struik was charged under articles 530 and 532, for failing to lodge a complaint about mistreatment or sexual abuse of a minor and for “hiding leads”. Each charge carries a jail term of up to three years.
Court spokesman Meas Pros said the trial concluded yesterday and a verdict is expected in due course.