The case against a Dutch national accused of helping his Vietnamese boyfriend flee the country after videos emerged of the boyfriend torturing a 2-year-old Cambodian boy has been sent to a presiding judge to set a trial date.
Stefan Struik, 53, was arrested in December for assisting his partner, Nguyen Thanh Dung, 34, to cross the border into Vietnam after video footage posted to Facebook showed Mr. Nguyen torturing a small boy, including shocking the child’s genitals with an electric prod. Police later established the video had been shot on a cacao plantation owned by Mr. Struik in Mondolkiri province, where the boy’s parents lived and worked.
Investigating Judge Ya Narin charged Mr. Struik with omission to file a complaint against the mistreatment of a minor and concealment of evidence. Both charges carry sentences of between one and three years in prison and a fine of up to 6 million riel, or about $1,500.
On Thursday, Mondolkiri Provincial Court spokesman Meas Pros said the investigation into Mr. Struik’s case had finished before Khmer New Year and been sent to Presiding Judge Sun Pisith. The judge confirmed he had received the case and was reviewing the file, but had not yet set a date for the trial to begin.
The victim’s father and police have both said Mr. Struik and Mr. Nguyen left the plantation together in December, several hours before police arrived to investigate the video footage.
Mr. Nguyen was arrested by Vietnamese police in Ho Chi Minh City later that month, and the boy’s mother said in February that the accused was not expected to be extradited to face charges in Cambodia. James McCabe, head of the policing charity Child Protection Unit, which was involved in the investigation, said on Thursday that Mr. Nguyen was being detained in Vietnam and had been charged with preliminary offenses, adding that the case was now awaiting formal charges from a public prosecutor.
Contacted on Thursday, the boy’s father said his son was doing better, and that the family was living in a house provided by business tycoon Mong Reththy, who employs the father.
“Right now, he is not afraid of people anymore,” the father said of his son. “He has been playing with his siblings and other children.”
© 2017, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.