Graham Cleghorn….victim of injustice in Cambodia?

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NZ Herald
July 11 2007; 12:40

NZ rapist's family fears he could die in Cambodian jail

Convicted New Zealand rapist Graham Cleghorn is to appeal to the Cambodian Supreme Court, after the Appeal Court yesterday upheld his convictions.

The Appeal Court in Phnom Penh rejected Cleghorn's appeal, four years after he was convicted of the rapes of five teenage girls who worked as maids at his Siem Reap house.

Cleghorn's New Zealand-based lawyer, Greg King, said his 60-year-old client could die in jail before his scheduled release in 2024.

"He continues to have very poor health so the prospects of his surviving until he's nearly 80 in that environment are pretty remote," Mr King told Radio New Zealand.

Cleghorn's family were in a state of shock and distress at the latest verdict, he said.

Mr King said Cleghorn's Cambodian lawyer, Ouk Ry, was confident an appeal at Supreme Court could be heard within six months.

"But I have to say, it's taken us three years to get to the Court of Appeal - how much longer it will be to get ... to the Supreme Court is anybody's guess."

Cleghorn moved to Cambodia in the late 1980s and worked as a tourist guide and bar owner in Siem Reap, home of the famed Angkor Wat temple complex.

His Cambodian wife, Bout Toeur, was convicted of conspiring to collude in the rapes, providing the girls with regular contraceptive injections under the guise of "beauty shots".

She received a three-year suspended sentence.

But Cleghorn has long maintained his innocence and claimed he was set up by corrupt judges, police and the staff of a women's organisation.

In 2006, Oung Chantol, director of the Cambodian Women's Crisis Centre described New Zealand's diplomatic intervention in the case as "unnecessary".