CONVICTED Swedish paedophile Johan Brahim Escori plans to appeal to the Supreme Court after the Appeal Court upheld his six-and-a-half-year sentence on Friday, his defence lawyer said.
Ham Phea, one of Escori’s defence team, said he would meet his client today to discuss the next stage in his case.
“We must appeal to the Supreme Court in this case,” he said. “I have to find more evidence to support [Escori’s] case.”
Escori was arrested in May 2009 in the capital’s Daun Penh district, where he was sharing a room with a 9-year-old Cambodian boy who he described as his adopted son.
In January, Phnom Penh Municipal Court found him guilty of committing indecent acts and having sex with children after allegedly abusing the boy, as well as two others in Preah Sihanouk province.
Ham Phea said that Escori’s “son”, who spoke against him at the initial trial, was coached by two NGO workers to make allegations of abuse.
Consequently, the child’s testimony at the Appeal Court on Friday, in which he denied having been abused by the Swedish national, reflected the “truth”, Ham Phea said.
“We will request that the Supreme Court ask the two NGO staff to be summonsed,” he said, and he planned to file the appeal to the Supreme Court soon.
He declined to name the NGOs alleged to have coached the boy to testify against Escori.
Friday’s Appeal Court ruling followed reports last week that Escori bragged to a Swedish journalist that he paid US$11,000 in bribes to senior court officials in order to secure his release.
In the interview, published in the Swedish press last week, Escori also reportedly bragged that he had coached his “son” to supply exculpatory testimony during his appeal hearing.
Samleang Seila, director of anti-paedophile group Action Pour les Enfants, said his organisation would continue to probe the bribery allegation.
“Although he denied the corruption during the appeal hearing, his interview with the Swedish journalist confirmed clearly that he also trained his adopted son to answer questions in order to secure his acquittal,” he said.
“APLE is still investigating the case to find more evidence about the bribery case.”