Cambodia court dismisses Chinan nurse’s appeal against surrogacy jail sentence

HIGHEST QUALITY VERSION Cambodian surrogate mother Hour Vanny, holding the two page document she signed with the company Fertility Solutions, operated by n nurse Tammy Davis-Charles. The written agreement required her to take medications during pregnancy as directed. Picture: Craig SkehanPhnom Penh: n nurse Tammy Davis-Charles, who is suffering eye cancer, has had her appeal against an 18-month jail sentence on surrogacy charges rejected by a Cambodian court.
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Davis-Charles sobbed after a judge ruled on Monday that under Cambodian law the court could not take into consideration her cancer.

The judge found that the sentence imposed on Davis-Charles, a mother of six from Melbourne, last October was lenient.

She has been serving the sentence in Prey Sar, a notoriously harsh jail on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, where medical treatment is limited.

The court heard Davis-Charles has had her cancer treated by doctors but a tumour had returned.

Davis-Charles, 50, was arrested with two Cambodians in 2016 as police cracked down on more than 50 surrogacy clinics and brokers in Phnom Penh.

Police alleged she falsified documents, including birth certificates, to smooth passage of surrogacy paperwork through Cambodia’s murky legal system and the n embassy in Cambodia.

Prosecutors said parents had paid her $US50,000 ($63,880) for each child.

For more than a year, Davis-Charles ignored warnings from the n government that commercial surrogacy was illegal in Cambodia.

Police alleged her company Fertility Solutions PGD signed at least 25 surrogacy agreements, most of them with n biological parents.

Witnesses told her original trial that surrogate mothers went to the n embassy in Phnom Penh to finalise paperwork that would give custody to the biological parents with whom she had agreements but that Davis-Charles usually stayed outside.

Hour Vanny, one of the surrogate mothers, said she did not understand official proceedings at the embassy because no interpreter was present.

She said after giving birth her baby girl was taken from her and she did not see her face until meeting with the n biological father at the n embassy.

Davis-Charles claimed her company was only responsible for caring for surrogate mothers and another company was responsible for screening and preparing paperwork, such as the contracts between intended parents and surrogate mothers.

Davis-Charles can lodge another appeal with Cambodia’s Supreme Court.

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