Australian nurse and 2 local assistants jailed in Cambodia for illegal surrogacy

A man dries unhusked rice in Kompong Thom province last year

Tammy Davis-Charles was sentenced Thursday in a court in the capital, Phnom Penh, along with two Cambodian associates, nine months after she was arrested and detained.

Davis-Charles' co-accused, Samrith Chakriya and Penh Rithy, were also found guilty and handed an 18 month sentence and a fine of $617 each, ABC reports.

The verdict and sentence is a blow for Ms Davis-Charles' family who a year ago launched a campaign with a hashtag #freetammydavis.

She confessed to the court that she had arranged for 23 Cambodian women to carry babies for 18 Australian couples and five American couples.

The Judge said evidence showed that money was paid illegally to obtain birth certificates for the babies so they could be taken out of Cambodia.

Two Cambodian citizens who were acting with her were also found guilty. She hung her head and wept openly when taken to a holding room for prisoners. Davis-Charles' family did not attend the sentencing.

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On November 20, Cambodian police arrested her and incarcerated her in Prey Sar prison.

Cambodian Lux Clinic posted a photo of a minutes-old baby girl on Facebook following Hour Vanny's cesarean section on August 25.

Davis-Charles' lawyer, Chheang Sophoan, asked the judge to drop charges against her, saying the evidence was unclear.

Ms. Davis-Charles had been living in Thailand, where she founded Fertility Solutions PGD with her husband, Simon Davis, after leaving her native Australia.

"I have lost everything", she said. She paid Penh Rithy $600 to $800 to organise the paperwork of the babies born through the Cambodian surrogate mothers so that the babies could leave the country along with their parents.

Police alleged Fertility Solutions PGD signed at least 23 surrogacy agreements, a lot of them with Australian biological parents. The Cambodian defendants were fined 2 million riels each.

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