Cambodia’s Appeal Court yesterday upheld the conviction of an Australian nurse found guilty for her role in a surrogacy business.
In August, Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Tammy Davis-Charles and two Cambodians to 18 months in jail each for their respective roles.
All were found guilty of being intermediaries between an adoptive parent and a pregnant woman, and of fraudulent requests for documents.
Only Ms Davis-Charles filed an appeal to reduce her sentence, mentioning health problems concerning her eyes and skin.
Appeal Court judge Kim Danny upheld the municipal court’s verdict.
“Tammy Davis-Charles was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the court of first instance,” she announced in court yesterday. “The court finds that the verdict was fair.”
Ms Davis-Charles admitted that she came to Cambodia to take up the surrogacy business in 2015 after the practice was outlawed in Thailand.
She was arrested along with Pich Rithy and Cambodian nurse Samrith Chan Chakriya in November 2016 by anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police in Phnom Penh.
Deputy prosecutor Vong Bunvisoth said Ms Davis-Charles hired women to carry babies for other people through her Fertility Solutions PGD clinic between 2015 and 2016.
She told the court the women were inseminated with sperm from the spouses and partners of families in Australia.
Ms Davis-Charles received $50,000 for each baby from parents living abroad.
She paid $10,000 to each Cambodian woman for carrying a baby, as well as giving Mr Rithy from $400 to $1,500 for expenses for preparing birth certificates and related documents.
Authorities have since begun preparing a draft law to make surrogacy legal with a range of protections for the women and babies involved.
Surrogacy has been a controversial issue in the region and has been banned by India, Nepal and Thailand.