Graham Cleghorn.victim of injustice in Cambodia?

Home > News Reports > 2007


The Australian
February 18, 2004

NZ man jailed for Cambodia rape
From correspondents in Phnom Pen

A Cambodian court today sentenced a New Zealand man to 20 years in prison for raping five mostly under-age girls, while his Cambodian wife was convicted for assisting in the crimes, a judge said.

"After a long investigation and listening to the answers and conclusions of several witnesses, the girls' lawyer, the prosecutor and our accurate judgment, the court understands that Graham Robert Cleghorn had sex with under-aged Cambodian girls," Judge Plong Chhlam said after announcing a guilty verdict.

Cleghorn, 57, will be deported after completing his jail term in Cambodia, the judge told AFP by telephone from northwestern Siem Reap province, where the trial occurred.

The defendant was also ordered to pay compensation of $US2,000 ($A2,530) to the families of each of the five victims.

"The heavy punishment on foreign rapists and paedophiles was a message to let them know that our country is a place for cultural, not sexual, tourism," he added.

The judge said the court also found Cleghorn's Cambodian wife Bot Teur, 26, guilty of conspiracy because she had procured the young women for her husband, and sentenced her to three years behind bars.

"She was allowed to serve five years of probation instead," as she had been considered a victim in her husband's sexual exploitation, he said.

Cleghorn, who has lived in Cambodia for 10 years and worked as a guide at the famed Angkor Wat temples near Siem Reap, and his wife were arrested last October amid a government crackdown on sex crimes, particularly cases involving children.

Of the five female victims, only one was an adult and the rest were underage. They were lured into the couple's house and paid 20 dollars a month living allowance in return for housekeeping duties and sexual favours, said the judge.

The court also charged Cleghorn with illegal use of weapons after they found a pistol and two grenades at his home.

Last October, a Phnom Penh court jailed two Vietnamese men and two women for for 15 years each for running one of the country's largest known child prostitution rackets.