US national Daniel Stephen Johnson was transferred to Prey Sar prison yesterday after being charged on Saturday over the alleged rape of five underage boys – residents of the orphanage he ran without interference from authorities for several months.
According to Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor Seang Sok, Johnson – who was the director of NGO Hope Transitions – was charged with indecent acts with a minor under 15 years old, a charge he will have to face in Cambodia before he can be repatriated to the US to face similar charges there.
Although a sub-decree requires all NGOs to register with the government, some – like Johnson’s – never do. But even as a draft NGO law languishes in parliament, some civil society members yesterday said that it would do little to prevent government ministries’ overlapping jurisdiction over NGOs from letting some organisations slip through the cracks, even ones run by foreign fugitives.
According to Chhith Sam Ath, director of the NGO Forum, local NGOs must register with the Ministry of Interior, while foreign-based NGOs must register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Even then, NGOs must obtain a memorandum of understanding from what he termed an “aligned ministry”, or one that deals with the issue being addressed by the NGO. …
Stuart White and Buth Reaksmey Kongkea