of injustice in
Saly Theara also said that the nine witnesses' reversal of their original testimony against Lauwaert which they claimed was the result of pressure from the Cambodian Women's Crisis Center was suspicious. The CWCC became involved in the case after the women had complained to Siem Reap Provincial Police. "Bart Lauwaert's denial of guilt was groundless because the forensics documents have already proved the charge," the judge said. "The suspect really committed the crime as found by the lower court. The lower court's decision is just," he said.
Lawyer Dy Borima said that the
ruling was unjust and he would appeal on behalf of Lauwaert to the Supreme
Court. An Australian Embassy official, who declined to reveal his name, said
after the trial that the embassy was monitoring Lauwaert's case to ensure he
was not discriminated against by the Cambodian legal system. Amid claims by
family and friends of Lauwaert that CWCC engineered his conviction, an email
was distributed on Thursday night by a group calling itself the
The CPCC claims to represent the
families of Lauwaert, Clinton Betteridge, who was arrested in
"I wondered how they could
rent a van, stay at a hotel and eat in restaurants. I believe the family of
the suspect paid for them to travel to
CWCC Executive Director Chanthol Oung, whose organization and investigative methods have been called into question regarding the Lauwaert conviction, claimed again that campaigners are actively trying to protect pedophiles. Chanthol Oung also denied allegations that her organization had targeted foreigners. "The allegation is groundless. We received thousands of complaints and I never mention whether they are foreign or local," she said.
Commenting on Lauwaert's 20 year sentence, Chanthol Oung said new Cambodian Laws would be even harsher on sex offenders, whether foreign or local. CWCC also worked on the case of a Siem Reap province man who was jailed for 20 years in January for raping a 13 year old girl in 2005, she said.