Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Russian man sentenced in absentia for child sex crimes

Russian man sentenced in absentia for child sex crimes

Russian man sentenced in absentia for child sex crimes

NGO says the accused, convicted of abusing three young boys in 2008, fled in August after his first sentence was suspended.

PHNOM Penh's Court of Appeal on Wednesday sentenced in absentia a convicted Russian paedophile to three years in prison, upholding an appeal by the prosecution, which argued that his original sentence was too weak and should never have been suspended.

Nikita Velov, 27, was arrested in January 2008 on suspicion of committing indecent acts with three boys aged 7 to 14 in Preah Sihanouk. At the time of his arrest, he was with one of the boys in a guesthouse.

He was found guilty in August by Preah Sihanouk provincial court, but his sentence was suspended, and he is believed to have fled the country not long after.  

"We announced the verdict in absentia to convict Velov to serve a three-year jail sentence and ordered him to pay 15 million riels [US$3,602]combined to the three boys," Presiding Judge Nhoung Thol told the Post Wednesday.

The country director for the  child rights NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) said Velov left Cambodia for Thailand via the Poipet border crossing last August.

"We are not sure whether the appeal judges at the hearing this morning knew or pretended not to know that the accused man left Cambodia through the Poipet border on August 5, 2008, wearing a wig," Samleang Seila said, adding that Velov had been released on bail after serving his initial sentence of six months.

Nhuong Thol told the Post Wednesday that he had "made the assumption that the man was not released".  

"But if the man left Cambodia through the Poipet border like APLE says, we would then follow our ongoing procedure to investigate the man," he added.

Velov's defence lawyer, Nuon Chantha, declined to comment on his client's whereabouts Wednesday.

"It is a mystery why the court did not let us know clearly where the man is - whether he is in prison or whether he has fled Cambodia," said Peng Maneth, a lawyer working for APLE.

"We were completely sure that the accused left Cambodia, based on information we have received from the Ministry of Interior's Department of Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection," Samleang Seila said. 

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Funcinpec urges probe into deadly Preah Sihanouk accident

    THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead. Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda,