Graham Cleghorn….victim of injustice in Cambodia?

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Radio NZ
July 11 2007

Morning Report: Graham Cleghorn

Geoff Robinson (GR): Hes nearly 60 years old, his family and friends fear hell die in a Cambodian jail - New Zealander Graham Cleghorn  has had his appeal on his rape convictions and his 20 year sentence rejected by a Cambodian court. But now his lawyers are turning their attention to the Supreme Court as Kate Williamson (KW) reports.

KW: Graham Cleghorn was convicted in February 2004 of raping five young women who had worked at his home. Yesterday a court upheld the original verdict. Cleghorns daughter Heidi Madeley says the family is in shock, and is devastated by the news. This was the New Zealanders eighth attempt at an appeal after three years of adjournments in the Cambodian justice system. Cleghorns NZ-based lawyer Greg King (GK) says its dire news.

GK: Grahams 60 years old now. Hes still got 17 years to go with that sentence of 20 years. Hes in a prison. He continues to have very poor health. So the prospects of him surviving till hes nearly 80 in that environment are pretty remote I would have thought. Its a death sentence, and its just very, very distressing.

KW: Mr King says defence witnesses were not able to be called in court during last weeks hearing. He says the court only seemed to endorse the original conviction, despite that hearing only lasting nine hours and not allowing defence witnesses to be heard. A supporter of Cleghorns, Dr Lynley Hood (LH), says his family had pinned a lot of hope on this appeal.

LH: There are irregularities in the Cambodian justice system that boggle the mind, but for once they felt things were going fairly well. They felt a change in the climate from the last appeal.

KW:  Supporters of Cleghorn say he was set up by the Cambodian Womens Crisis Centre while he was living and working in the country.The New Zealander has always maintained his innocence. The Crisis Centre could not be reached for comment last night, but in the past it has denied the allegations. A website has now been set up in support of Cleghorns case. One of the founders Brian Robinson (BR) says the fight will go on.

BR: It appears that the Cambodian courts have not taken into account the full story behind what had actually happened. What he actually needs is a full investigation, and the story of what has happened needs to be publicised widely.

KW: Cleghorns Cambodia-based lawyer Ouk Ry is now turning is attention to Cambodias Supreme Court, a process which could take up to six months. NZ lawyer Greg King has been in touch with Mr Ry.

GK: Hes confident that an appeal can be heard in the Supreme Court within about four to six months, but I have to say, its taken us three years to get to the Court of Appeal, how much quicker it will be to get from the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court is anybodys guess.

KW: A NZ diplomat attended yesterdays court appearance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it will continue to offer consular assistance to Cleghorn while hes in prison. But for now his family is very afraid hell die there, without receiving a fair trial. His daughter Heidi Madeley is now focussing on trying to get someone out to see her Dad, to check on his condition. For Morning Report, Kate Williamson.