Graham Cleghorn….victim of injustice in Cambodia?

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One News
February 18 2006

Foreign affairs to help jailed NZ man

Foreign affairs has stepped in to help a New Zealand man serving a 20-year jail term in Cambodia for multiple sex offences.

The official involvement follows concerns about evidence used to convict former aid worker Graham Cleghorn and the way his recent appeal was handled.

Cleghorn, 55, was sentenced in 2004, but his lawyer says he was set up, and his recent appeal breached all known human rights.

Convicted of raping five young women, Cleghorn was granted an appeal last month, but wasn't told of it and wasn't represented.

"He was set up. A number of young girls from the village where he lives were kidnapped and were detained for 15 days and were told they would only be released if they made allegations against him," says Greg King, Cleghorn's New Zealand-based lawyer.

He says the five girls were offered $US10,000 to lie by someone Cleghorn was in a land dispute with.

Cleghorn and his wife now risk losing their home, and have to pay the alleged victims $US2,000 each.

But the Cleghorns want to present new evidence - other women from the village who were made the same offer to lie say they know the victims are lying too.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had concerns from the start when Cleghorn's trial lasted only nine hours and his Cambodian lawyer didn't say a word. King has called the trial process "an absolute sham".

New Zealand's ambassador in Bangkok has now met with Cambodian officials to raise concerns about the case. 

The ministry says it only learnt of last month's appeal in the past week, and by international standards it breaches Graham Cleghorn's right to a fair hearing.

The ministry is awaiting a response, but if that fails, King says he will take the case to the United Nations.


Greg King:  "He was set up"  "The trial process itself was an absolute sham"

Girl - "Kidnapped and offered $10000 to lie"

Lin:    "I lost my virginity"

Baut Toer:  "It's not true. It's because they want the money"