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Italian pedophile jailed for ten years

Italian pedophile jailed for ten years

An Italian man was sentenced to ten years in jail after he was found guilty of pedophilia

at the Phnom Penh municipal court. Alain Berruti was convicted of debauchery on July

16.

"The court has enough evidence," said Judge Nop Sophon. "Alain Fillipo

Berruti committed sex with Cambodian children on June 14 and 15, 2001."

Berruti, a 30-year-old electrician from Milan, was convicted on the strength of Article

8 of the human trafficking law which states that anyone who commits debauchery on

those under 15, even with their consent, will be jailed for between ten and 20 years.

Berruti rejected the sentence, even though he admitted he had sexual relations with

the boys. He said there was insufficient evidence.

"I refute the sentence and the allegations and will appeal immediately in the

hope that one day justice will be done," he said, adding that he knew he had

broken the law. "But these boys are the same as before. They come from the streets

- they are prostitutes. I had the [sex] experience with them for a small amount of

money."

Berruti arrived in Cambodia on a tourist visa on June 9 last year. After the verdict

he told reporters that Asia was a good travel destination, but that this was the

first time he had committed sex acts with young boys. He said he understood prison

conditions were bad, but had a good feeling about staying in the country.

"In other countries I can't find any available boys," he said. "Though

Cambodia is a poor country, I want to live here. Every day I can see the sun and

coconut trees."

Chum Sophea, who was appointed lawyer for the victims, said the sentence was too

lenient, and complained that the compensation ordered paid to the victims' families

- between $250 to $500 - was insufficient.

Two other Westerners are awaiting trial for similar crimes. Luigi Falchi, a 28-year-old

Italian, will appear in court in Banteay Meanchey August 1 charged with having sex

with three minors in Poipet.

And in Sihanoukville, the court will hear the adjourned case of Frenchman Pierre

Guynot on July 26. Guynot was released from custody in December after the judge ruled

there was insufficient evidence to convict him and ordered further investigation.

Guynot was arrested in May 2001 at his Sihanoukville home and imprisoned for six

months. He was charged with illegal confinement of a boy, illegal possession of weapons,

and the sexual abuse of minors.

Guynot was accused earlier this year of using his freedom to buy the silence of his

accusers. Their lawyer alleged to the Post in April that Guynot had offered their

families $600 each to withdraw their testimony.

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