Breaking: Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles denied early release in surrogacy case

Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles (centre) enters the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh this morning, where her request for release from prison was denied.
Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles (centre) enters the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh this morning, where her request for release from prison was denied. Erin Handley

Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles, who has spent more than a year behind bars in Cambodian prison for her role in a landmark surrogacy case, has been denied early release by Phnom Penh’s Appeal Court.

Appeal Court judges this morning were not swayed by Davis-Charles’ plea to reduce her 18-month sentence to seek treatment for eye cancer.

Referring to a document from Davis-Charles' doctor detailing her diagnosis, Appeal Court Judge Kim Danny said she already had a tumour removed from her eye, but her doctor noted the condition had recurred and required treatment.

Judge Danny made no mention of whether Davis-Charles would be able to receive treatment while serving time in Prey Sar prison. She also suggested that Davis-Charles had received a relatively “lenient” sentence, as the charges against her carried a maximum prison term of two years.

“We uphold the verdict of the court of first instance,” Judge Danny said. “We decide to continue to detain her.”

Davis-Charles and her two Cambodian co-accused, nurse Samrith Chakriya and commerce ministry official Penh Rithy, were arrested in November 2016 following a snap ban on Cambodia’s flourishing surrogacy industry.

In the vacuum of formal surrogacy laws, the trio was sentenced in August to 18 months in prison for obtaining falsified documents, such as birth certificates, and for acting as intermediaries between adoptive parents and pregnant women.

Visibly thinner than during her trial and wearing a blue jumpsuit, a tearful Davis-Charles declined to speak to The Post yesterday.

She has one month to file an appeal to the court’s decision at the Supreme Court.

A timeline of surrogacy laws in the Kingdom: