Graham Cleghorn….victim of injustice in Cambodia?

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The Dominion Post
June 3 2006

Sex-case Kiwi's background comes to light
by Keri Welham

A two-week investigation by The Dominion Post in Cambodia has for the first time probed the background of jailed New Zealander Graham Cleghorn, who maintains his innocence on rape charges in the impoverished country.

Cleghorn claimed the five teenage girls whose testimony led to his being jailed for 20 years were bribed by the Cambodian Women's Crisis Centre into making false statements. He said he was wrongly arrested to impress aid donors who set aside money to combat sex crimes.

But records uncovered during the investigation into Cleghorn's case show the girls were visited by six different groups urging them to withdraw their statements.

After intervention from New Zealand's ambassador to Thailand, Peter Rider, who flew to Phnom Penh, the former Petone traffic officer, 59, has won the right to a new appeal.

An unsuccessful appeal against the conviction was held without either Cleghorn's or his lawyer's knowledge.

Cleghorn's supporters claimed the legal system that dismissed the appeal was symptomatic of the corruption and lack of due process endemic in Cambodia.

Court transcripts uncovered in the newspaper's investigation indicated Cleghorn's wife was aware her husband had slept with some of the girls.

Cleghorn is being held in the notorious Prey Sar prison, in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. He has said he would rather die than serve out his jail term.