January 5 2007
No relief for rape convict
A Cambodian court adjourned a New Zealand
national's appeal against a 20-year sentence for rape for the sixth time
yesterday after prison authorities failed to deliver him to the court in time
for his hearing. Graham Robert Cleghorn, 59, was convicted of raping five of
his maids in the northern provincial court of Siem Reap in 2004 in a case
spearheaded by the local non-government organisation, the Cambodian Women's
Crisis Center (CWCC).
His appeal in Phnom Penh's Appeal Court has repeatedly been
adjourned over the course of more than a year due to a range of problems
including authorities failing to inform one side or the other that it was on,
failure by the court to provide a translator, and now a failure by the prison
system to provide the prisoner.
Both the CWCC and Cleghorn's
lawyers expressed frustration yesterday after Judge Saly Theara adjourned the
hearing until January 31 citing lack of a defendant.
Legal representative for Cleghorn,
Nou Tepirith, said the prison had been informed of the appeal date in
adequate time and he did not understand why the prisoner was not present.
Cleghorn, who remains in the
capital's Prey Sar prison, has claimed he was framed by powerful interests
who want his valuable land at the edge of the Angkor Wat temple complex and
has further claimed he is being denied his day in court to prevent him from
presenting evidence supporting those claims