GOVERNMENT officials and the international community have urged the Appeals Court to speed up its review of a Sihanoukville legal judgment that resulted in the release of a Russian paedophile convicted of sexually abusing three underage boys.
Nikita Belov, 26, was sentenced to three years in prison by Sihanoukville Municipal Court on July 21 for abusing three boys aged seven to 13 years, but was released on July 23 after the court suspended his sentence. Belov was also ordered to pay US$500 to the court and compensate each victim with $250.
"Police worked hard to arrest him but the court just released him," said Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng during a national conference on human trafficking in Cambodia Monday.
Sar Kheng, who is also the interior minister, said he will ask the Justice Ministry to review the case, adding that the US Embassy and various NGOs are also angered by the Russian's release.
Bith Kimhong, director of the Interior Ministry's Anti-Human Trafficking Department, said the general prosecutor has already lodged a complaint about the release with the Appeals Court.
"There should be no tolerance for this kind of crime. We want him to go to prison," Bith Kimhong said.
"We have witnesses and sufficient evidence."