Aussie nurse’s desperate prison plea
AUSTRALIAN nurse Tammy Davis-Charles has begged for release from Cambodia's notorious Prey Sar prison saying she has eye cancer.
The convicted 49-year-old says she is suffering from the deteriorating disease within the squalid confines of the ageing and overcrowded penitentiary.
Davis-Charles lives in one of Prey Sar's four wings known as "bloks" where overcrowding runs to more than 20 inmates sharing a 17sq m cell.
Davis-Charles appeared before an Appeal Court in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh requesting a reduction of her sentence "so that I can leave prison soon and get treatment".
She produced a letter confirming a diagnosis of cancer of her left eye.
However, court prosecutor Chea Met said she already admitted to her crime, and must be punished accordingly.
Davis-Charles, who is from Melbourne, was sentenced last August for running a surrogacy racket using local Khmer women to carry babies for Australian clients.
Anti-trafficking police arrested her in November 2016, along with nurse Samrith Chakriya and a government official, Penh Rithy.
Davis-Charles was convicted of falsifying birth certificates to take surrogate babies back to Australia through her Fertility Solutions PGD business.
Phnom Penh municipal judge Sor Lina rejected her pleas for mercy because she has "lost everything" and contracted cancer in prison.
He convicted all three defendants of being intermediaries between a pregnant woman and an adoptive parent, and fraudulently obtaining documents, including the birth certificates.
The verdict was delivered while Cambodia was still drafting laws for surrogacy.
Davis-Charles said she had not seen her young sons since her arrest, but her initial immediate appeal fell on deaf ears.
She has surrogate twins, conceived when she ran her business in Thailand until a crackdown following the controversial 2014 "Baby Gammy" case forced her out.
People from Western countries desperate to be parents paid Davis-Charles up to $50,000 for a baby born to mostly poor Cambodian surrogates, who received a percentage.
Davis-Charles assisted 23 Cambodian surrogates during their pregnancies, with 18 of them carrying children for Australians.
In late 2016, the Cambodian Ministry of Health banned the practice, deeming it human trafficking, and locked up Davis-Charles.
She has been in custody since in Prey Sar.
The prison provides two meals a day of rice and vegetables, leaving inmates to pay for everything including drinking water, shower water, soap, and decent food.
The facility has previously housed Australian drug dealers and disgraced British entertainer and paedophile, Gary Glitter.
Prosecutor Met has asked the appeals court to uphold Davis-Hughes' 18 month sentence.
Rithy and Chakriya did not appeal their 18 month prison sentences, which will expire for the entire trio in five months.
Presiding Judge Kem Dany said a decision on Davis-Charles' appeal would be made on January 8.