Graham Cleghorn….victim of injustice in Cambodia?

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NZ Herald
March 7 2006

Ambassador looking into convicted rapist's case

The New Zealand Ambassador in Thailand is to seek a meeting with the Cambodian Justice Minister over convicted New Zealand rapist Graham Cleghorn's case.

A Foreign Affairs spokesman said the ambassador, Peter Rider, goes to Cambodia tomorrow.

He will also try to see Cleghorn and his lawyer

Cleghorn, 58, is serving 20 years in a Phnom Penh prison after being convicted of raping five teenage girls.

He maintains his innocence, saying he was set up by the Cambodian Women's Crisis Centre which bribed teenagers to falsely testify against him.

Matters Mr Rider hopes to raise include the fact that Cleghorn's appeal was held in his absence. Foreign Affairs staff are trying to find out whether it is possible to have the appeal reheard.

Cleghorn claimed a corrupt judge persuaded his sister, head of the women's centre, to offer teenage girls US$10,000 ($15,227) to press rape charges against him.

The centre told the Dominion Post its complaints were genuine. It said Cleghorn and his wife, Buot Touer, had poor village girls live with them as house servants.

His wife was given a three-year suspended sentence for conspiracy, after they were found guilty in February 2004.

Meanwhile, a New Zealand child advocate has questioned whether the centre would have had the money to bribe teenagers to lie at Cleghorn's trial.

Denise Ritchie of Stop Demand - a group working against the sexual exploitation of children - said allegations that the centre forced children to lie and paid them money were quite bizarre and seemed unlikely.