A German national was yesterday convicted of molesting two young boys but will be eligible for release in a little over two months, after time served is factored in, prompting advocates for the victims to mull an appeal.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Heng Sokna sentenced Udo Sabiniewicz, 57, to one year in prison and ordered him to pay $1,000 to each victim, abused at the suspect’s rented home in the capital’s Chbar Ampov district.
Sokna added that Sabiniewicz, head of FX Animation Studios, had 30 days to appeal. His lawyer, Peung Yok Hiep, said she would discuss lodging an appeal with her client, whose innocence she maintained.
“He said he did not commit the crime, so how can he compensate?” she said.
However, an appeal may not be necessary, she said, noting that Sabiniewicz, arrested last June, will soon be eligible for release.
Sabiniewicz was initially accused of abusing five boys, aged 7 to 13, though the parents of three withdrew their complaints. The remaining plaintiffs included the son of Sabiniewicz’s former cleaner and another boy, whose mother met the suspect at a hairdressing salon.
Sabiniewicz has claimed that the former cleaner engineered the claims out of spite after he accused her of stealing an iPad.
Samleang Seila, director of anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, which provided a lawyer for the victims, criticised the sentence.
“I think this conviction is too light and little compensation for the victims,” he said.
“We will discuss with them if they want to appeal.”