The Appeal Court yesterday heard the case of a woman convicted on trafficking charges after procuring underage girls for an American pedophile who was sentenced in 2008 to more than 200 years in prison by a US court after being arrested by Cambodian authorities.
Defendant Choeung Thisan, 36, was charged with human trafficking and procurement of prostitution in 2006 for her role in providing three girls, aged 10 to 11, and one woman, 20, to American citizen and former part-time Pannasastra University English teacher Michael Joseph Pepe, who reportedly drugged, beat and raped them.
Thisan, who was sentenced to 27 years in jail in 2007, admitted in court yesterday that she had procured the girls for Pepe, but nonetheless defended her actions, saying the transaction involving the young victims had been agreed to by their parents beforehand.
“I have committed this as accused, but I lodged the case to the Appeal Court because the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has put a massive burden on me, and I ask the court to lighten the sentence because I have learned my lesson now,” she said.
Prosecutor Pan Kimlean even argued for a reduced sentence, saying that since the defendant had confessed, the court should consider leniency.
Echoing the sentiment, Thisan’s defence attorney, Dun Vibol, argued that the Phnom Penh Municipal court’s sentence had been excessive, and that the court should lighten the sentence, especially given that Thisan had learned her lesson.
Judge Im said that a verdict will declared on September 30.