Man suspected of abusing hundreds of Indonesian children dies in custody

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A French man accused of molesting more than 300 Indonesian children has died two days after a guard found him lying in his cell with a wire wrapped around his neck, police said.

Francois Camille Abello was taken to a hospital after the suicide attempt on Friday and was in stable condition on Saturday, Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus said.

His condition then worsened and he died late on Sunday, Mr Yunus said.

“His condition was stable a day afterward, but then deteriorated (because) of brain damage due to lack of oxygen after the suicide attempt,” Mr Yunus said.

Abello had faced a maximum penalty of chemical castration or death by firing squad under Indonesia’s child protection laws, Mr Yunus said.

Abello, 65, was arrested late last month in a hotel room in western Jakarta where he was found with two naked girls after police received a tip from nearby residents who suspected a foreigner at the hotel was exploiting children.

Indonesia France Child Abuse
French national Francois Camille Abello, centre is paraded to the media (AP)

Abello remained silent at the news conference.

Jakarta police chief Nana Sudjana said Abello had not cooperated with investigators and refused to provide passwords for programmes on his computer.

He said most of the victims were street children whom Abello had approached and offered work as models.

Abello paid them between 250,000 and one million rupiah (17 and 70 US dollars) for engaging in sex acts and beat those who refused, the chief said.

Police are still investigating whether he also exploited his victims economically through social media or other internet platforms prior to his death.

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