March 8 2006
Transcript; Graham Cleghorn
Mark Sainsbury, (Host of
For two years now, New Zealander Graham Cleghorn has been locked up in a
Cambodian jail for the rape of five teenage girls, part of a 20 year
sentence. But he says he’s innocent. He claims to be the victim of a set-up
by a women’s crisis organisation. Now there have been questions from day one
about how this case has been handled in Cambodia. Mysteriously,
Cleghorn’s appeal was heard several weeks ago, yet, he was never told it was
even on. Today, New Zealand’s
Ambassador in Thailand,
Peter Rider, is travelling to the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh demanding answers and a fair
hearing. So what is going on? Asia correspondent Charlotte Glennie has been
to Phnom Penh
jail to see Cleghorn.
Prey Sar Prison, Phnom Penh.
Inside are some of Cambodia’s
worst criminals and a handful of Westerners, all convicted of sex crimes.
Among them is New Zealander, Graham Cleghorn. Cleghorn is now represented by
Dy Borima, one of Cambodia’s
top criminal lawyers.
[translator’s voice-over]: Graham insists - he needs to have the freedom, and
justice. He’s an old man. He especially needs to go to the hospital. He needs
to walk outside in the fresh air. He needs enough food to live. What all men
in the world need, Graham also need.
Charlotte Glennie: Former Wellingtonian
Graham Cleghorn is 58 years old. Two years ago he was convicted of raping
five teenage girls. He’s adamant he’s innocent.
I’m just outside the prison now,
and unfortunately we had difficulty in getting our camera in there. However I
did get the chance to meet Graham Cleghorn, and surprisingly there was
another New Zealander also in jail here, a man in his late fifties, who also
claims he’s innocent of the sex crimes that he’s been convicted of.
Aucklander Malcolm Hatfield was convicted two years ago of sex crimes against
teenage boys. Both Hatfield and Cleghorn say they were set up by non-profit
organisations. Cleghorn’s sights are set on the Cambodian Women’s Crisis
Centre. Known as the CWCC, it’s the Cambodian equivalent of Women’s Refuge.
“CWCC turned up at my village and
offered people $10000 US each to say I’d interfered with their children,”
Cleghorn told me. “No one would do it. But CWCC went to other villages to
find girls who’d testify against me. They made them have virginity tests. All
I want is the CWCC investigated,” he said. He claimed they’re running a scam.
Cambodia’s seen as a haven for
foreigners looking for sex, and the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre is one of
the most active organisations fighting the problem. But sex offenders accuse
the organisation of offering bribes to alleged victims in return for them to
testify in court.
All the girls were promised by CWCC $US10,000 each if they filed a complaint
Cleghorn says this scam goes like this: the more people arrested as sex
offenders, the more overseas funding the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre can
get. The Centre’s director says the claims are absurd. She also says she’s
harassed by so many pedophiles that she’s afraid to show her face.
Ms Chanthol, CWCC:
We never pay for anyone - apart we pay
for accommodation for victims if necessary [inaudible] poor [inaudible] when
they come to Phnom Pehn to join the trial, of course we pay for their
transportation. We pay for their food. But we never ever pay for any money.
In one year, you know, we were around 263 cases, last year. How could we pay
those 263 cases $US10,000 [inaudible] How much would they get [inaudible].
Cleghorn was living here, on the outskirts of Siam Reap, a town famed for its
breath taking temples, like Angkor Wat.
Graham Cleghorn moved to Cambodia
around 1990. Since then, he told me, he’d had dozens of young women,
teenagers, living at his house at different times. He says he used to pay
them to do domestic chores. Some of them, he says, he put through school. The
only one he says he had sex with is the woman he refers to as his wife.
Whether they were actually married or not is questionable, but Buot Touer
moved in with Cleghorn when she was 13 or 14. Around four years later, he
says, they began a relationship.
Ms Chanthol: Actually [inaudible]
live with many children. The girlfriend went to rural areas, sometime alone,
sometime with him, and induce the other old women in the village to convince
the poor family to allow their children to live with them [inaudible] helper
[inaudible] can imagine [inaudible] hire around ten children [inaudible] at
least the money… those girls, when the police raided, why girls say they were
raped by Mr Cleghorn?
Cleghorn was originally convicted in a trial which lasted nine hours, and his
lawyer didn’t speak. Earlier this year Cleghorn’s appeal was heard in Phnom Penh.
Graham was not in the courtroom. Nor
was he in the vicinity of the courtroom. None of his witnesses or his lawyer
was there in the courtroom. Only the prosecutor’s representative was there,
and three girls.
our asking to be kept informed, how was it that he, and the embassy, were
unaware of the appeal taking place? But I think more importantly we’re
wanting to look to the future. How do we now progress the situation? How do
work the system so that Graham gets a chance for a fair hearing - a chance to
put his case, his side of events - to the appeal judge.
Charlotte Glennie: [inaudible] after the
Kymer Rouge, the Cambodians are still rebuilding, fighting those who exploit
the vulnerable and trying to ensure that this is a place where justice
course Ambassador Peter Rider, who we just saw there is Charlotte’s track
will meet with Cambodian officials tomorrow, and he’ll also be meeting with
Graham Cleghorn, and his lawyer.