By BEN SERRANO
BUTUAN City––A German engineer who was arrested here for alleged child trafficking and abuse has called on his embassy for help, saying the police have violated his rights and locked him up in a detention cell that was unfit for human beings.
Konrad Weber, 49, a mechanical engineer from Berlin, has been charged with child trafficking and child abuse.
Police said Weber was caught inside a room of Almont Inland Hotel and Convention Center along JC Aquino Ave. here last Friday with five children who were sleeping on a bed wearing nothing but briefs. They said Weber was emerging from a toilet when the police barged inside the hotel room.
Weber denied abusing the children even as he complained that the Butuan police locked him up in a dirty prison cell that reeked of human feces and urine. As a result, he said, he was not feeling well.
He also showed this paper his bruises. One was allegedly the result of being handcuffed tightly by the police.
Weber, who was renting an apartment in Gingoog City, said the arrest was illegal.
But Chief Insps. Reynante Sibayton and Marizan Liza Estrada, who led the arresting team, said a provision in the Child Abuse Act states that the mere presence of a minor inside a hotel room or a similar place with an adult who is not the relative or guardian is considered a crime.
They said a search warrant was not needed because at that time, a crime was in progress.
Police denied Weber’s claims that the German’s rights were violated.
Police seized from the hotel room a tablet, a laptop, a camera used by professionals, and a cellphone, among others. These were allegedly used in the alleged crime.
Police also said the children told investigators that they were abused.
The parents of the chldren who came in from Gingoog City later that the children were merely forced to make up a story against Weber.
“Mr. Weber is a good man,” said the parents, adding that the German was even helping in sending 10 children, including the five kids in the hotel room, to school.
Two teenagers also surfaced and claimed Weber was not into pedophilia.
There are reports that a prosecutor has decided to downgrade the charge against Weber.