Cambodia must seek deportation of all foreign child sex convicts

On 15 July 2016, a former FX Animation CEO, 57, Udo Sabiniewicz, German national, was deported from Cambodia with an escort officer from Germany after he was re-arrested by Cambodia’s Immigration Police on 4th July 2016, about two weeks after his release from prison. According to police, Udo’s passport was revoked. Udo is wanted for an offense in Germany where he will face child sex abuse charges.

Udo Sabiniewicz was ar­rested in June 2015 at his FX Ani­mation Dubbing Studio in Chbar Ampov district following complaint made by two mothers of his victims aged 7 and 9 (at abuse). In March 2016, Udo Sabiniewicz was found guilty of Indecent Acts by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and was sentenced to a one-year imprisonment. The court also ordered him to pay sum of USD 2,000 to two plaintiffs. Deportation was not part of his sentence.

The families of the victims welcomed the guilty verdict, but were disappointed with the court decision on deportation. However, last week the families applauded police action to arrest and deport Udo from Cambodia, convincing them of a better protection of children who would fall prey to him.  

Based on APLE’s statistics, during the first semester of 2016, 52 child sexual abuse allegations have been investigated, 12 of which involve suspected sex offenders with previous convictions. This tells enough that sex offenders must be kept away from children. 

According to APLE’s research paper titled: “Should Convicted Foreign Child Sex Offenders Be Deported from Cambodia? – An analysis of the current context and feasibility of mandatory deportation,” published in 2015, deportation is an expression of the basic policing powers of the state: its agents employ this tool to enforce laws that regulate entry across and residence within its borders, and to exclude individuals who may pose a threat to the public order. In recent years, the number of criminal deportations has increased significantly in several countries, including Cambodia. There are two motives for deportation such as specific and general preventions because it could defer the deported offenders and other offenders from committing crimes in Cambodia and this brings to the reduction of victim’s fear and risk and the damage of Cambodian culture.

Based on APLE’s recorded data, in 2015, 2 (two) foreign child sex offenders were deported from Cambodia and other 6 (six) foreign child sex offenders were given the deportation orders in comparison to 2 (two) foreign child sex offenders were deported and other 2 (two) foreign child sex offenders were given the deportation orders in the first semester of 2016. Although the number was not significant yet, it was hoped that that the authority would consider this option in all future cases.

Seila Samleang said, “Deportation is crucial in child abuse cases and must be made mandatory in Cambodia’s laws. However, without proper coordination with foreign authorities deportation could go wrong; sex offenders would still be free to choose which village, district, country they want to land.”  

“I acknowledge the strong collaborative effort by the Cambodian and German law authorities in bringing this man accountable for his offense back home. It’s not a matter of where you’re going to; it’s a matter of what you’re going to do about it or what you’d done to our children,” said Vando Khoem, APLE Program Director.

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