Pedophile Alexander Trofimov (r) is escorted by a prison official after a session at the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh in 2010. Photograph: Reuters
Convicted pedophile Alexander Trofimov will be deported on Thursday, a Ministry of Interior official said yesterday, but not necessarily to Russia, where he is wanted for additional child sex offences allegedly committed in his native country.
King Norodom Sihamoni sparked outrage last December by pardoning Trofimov, also known as Stanislav Molodyakov, halfway into a sentence already reduced from 17 years to eight and a half, for abusing 17 Cambodian girls between 2005 and 2007.
Interpol has been seeking the extradition of Trofimov, an investor in a US$300 million mega-resort in Sihanoukville, for allegedly sexually abusing three minors in Russia, a country that Cambodia is still in the process of negotiating an extradition treaty with.
But Lieutenant General Chhay Sinarith, director of the department of Internal Security at the Ministry of Interior, said authorities just wanted Trofimov out of the country and did not care where he went.
“We knew that his guy [Trofimov] was pardoned by the king … but this guy is bad, and this guy may create more problems that would impact social security in Cambodia,” he said.
“We don’t care where he will go. We’ll do whatever [we have to] to expel him out of the country, and we will not allow him to re-enter Cambodia,” Sinarith said.
National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith reportedly told a local media outlet last week that Trofimov would be deported to Russia on Sunday, but declined to comment yesterday, saying he was busy in Vietnam.
After roaming freely for five months, Trofimov was arrested again on June 4 on deportation orders from the Ministry of Interior. He was found living in a home where a 12-year-old girl also resided.
Trofimov claimed to have lost his Russian passport at the time and authorities previously said they working to arrange new travel documents for him to go back there.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said if Cambodia did send Trofimov to a country other than Russia, they were simply dumping the problem on someone else.
“Unfortunately, such an arrangement would allow Trofimov to once again use his wealth to seek to avoid justice,” he said. “What is significant, is that there has been no investigation into how he got on the pardon list in the first place.”
Senior ruling Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap said that without an extradition treaty, Cambodia still had the right to deport someone, but declined to confirm where Trofimov would be sent.
“We don’t have specific law on pedophiles, but the country’s penal code will cover all types of crimes, and both Cambodian people and foreigners must be under the penal code,” he said.
Samleang Seila, country director of the NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said Cambodian law should make it mandatory that child offenders are immediately deported to their native countries after serving their sentence.