PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – The founder and chief executive of small domestic airline Aero Cambodia, Brian Naswall, was yesterday sentenced at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to 10 years in jail after being found guilty last month of sexually abusing nine underage girls between 2011 and 2015.
Judge Khy Chhay also ordered he pay 8 million riel (nearly $2,000) each in compensation to six mothers of victims.
Naswall, 53, a US national who has a daughter with a Cambodian wife, was arrested last year in the act of abusing one of the girls but maintained throughout the trial that he was set up by child-protection NGO APLE.
After the sentencing, he said he had not received a fair trial as he did not receive legal assistance and did not have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses.
Court spokesman Ly Sophanna declined to comment on judge Chhay’s sentencing rationale.
In a press release, APLE program director Vando Khoem applauded the sentence but lamented that judge Chhay had not ordered Naswall be deported at the end of his sentence.
At the end of the hearing Naswall distributed a press release written by hand warning foreign entrepreneurs not to invest in Cambodia.
The two-page missive also reiterated his claim to have been framed by APLE, who he accused of abducting children to use as false witnesses.
APLE’s Khoem described Naswall’s allegations as “totally untrue”.