Cambodia's Supreme Court yesterday heard an appeal brought by French national Patrick Saliou, who was arrested in 2004 over charges of debauchery related to the alleged sexual exploitation of five boys aged between 12 and 16.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court dropped the charges against the Frenchman in 2004 but the Appeal Court sent the case back to the Municipal Court in 2008, after the boys’ lawyer appealed the decision. Saliou then filed an appeal of his own against the charges to the Supreme Court.
Multiple witnesses were questioned during yesterday’s hearing, which began at 8am and continued past noon. One of the boys, now 18, took the stand to provide evidence against the man he accused of molestation.
I do not believe that Patrick Saliou is staying in the hospital
He testified ín front of presiding judge Khim Pon that Saliou had offered him between US$10 and $20 to perform sex acts on the Frenchman in 2004.
Aged 12 at the time, he had been working as a shoe polisher in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh.
Saliou, who is in his mid-60s, was not present at court. His defence lawyer, Chiv Kola, said that his client was being treated for a serious heart condition in the emergency room of a hospital in Toulouse, France.
He said: “According to [Mr Saliou’s] doctor, the illness reduces my client’s libido drastically.”
Based on that fact, Chiv Kola requested the judge drop the charges against Saliou.
Prosecuting lawyer Peng Marineth responded: “The defence lawyer’s argument is only an excuse. I do not believe that Patrick Saliou is staying in the hospital and I have requested him to present a confirmation letter from the doctor.”
Nuon Phanit, another prosecuting lawyer from anti-trafficking NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, urged the judge to consider all the incriminating evidence, including sex toys, condoms, and three guns which police had confiscated from Saliou’s home.
Khim Pon delayed the announcement of the verdict until July 8.