Frenchman, accused of multiple child rapes, dies following suicide attempt in Jakarta cell: police

Francois Abello Camille (center, in orange shirt) presented to the media during a press conference on July 9, 2020. Photo: Jakarta Metro Police
Francois Abello Camille (center, in orange shirt) presented to the media during a press conference on July 9, 2020. Photo: Jakarta Metro Police

A French national charged with multiple counts of child rape and molestation has died, police said, with his death reportedly the result of a suicide attempt in his jail cell.

According to the Jakarta Metro Police, 65-year-old Francois Abello Camille, who faced the death penalty for luring and sexually molesting at least 305 street kids in Jakarta, was found in critical condition by a prison guard during his routine patrol on Thursday evening.

“There was a cable tied around his neck,” Jakarta Metro Police spokesman Yusri Yunus told reporters today, explaining that there was a loose cable in the ceiling of Camille’s cell that was ordinarily out of reach of inmates.

“But because [Camille] was tall, he was able to reach it.”

Camille was taken to the Kramat Jati National Police Hospital in East Jakarta, where he was treated for three days before succumbing to severe neck injuries on Sunday evening.

The police don’t seem to be entertaining any notion of Camille’s death possibly being the result of foul play.

The Jakarta Metro Police arrested Camille last month for allegedly sexually assaulting at least 305 minors over the course of several months. According to the police, Camille lured the children — all of whom were from the streets — telling them he needed models for a photoshoot. He then took the victims into hotels in West Jakarta, where he dressed them up for nude photoshoots before molesting and raping them. 

Camille paid the victims IDR250,000 to IDR1 million (US$17.27-US$69.08) if they agreed to have sex with him. He beat those who resisted his sexual advances.

Camille was arrested at a hotel in Mangga Besar, West Jakarta when police acted on a tip. There, police found Camille and two underage girls in various states of undress.

Based on the police’s investigation, Camille, who entered Indonesia on a tourist visa several times over the past five years, had lured and raped street children in at least three West Jakarta hotels between December 2019 and June 2020. Before his death, the police said they were looking into Camille’s motive and the suspicion that he raped many more children before the established timeline.

Suicide is often a taboo topic in Indonesia while depression is often brushed off as a sign of weakness in the sufferer. Indonesia currently does not have a dedicated government-run suicide prevention hotline, so if you or anyone you know is suffering from depression and/or contemplating suicide, you can get help from several local NGOs dealing with mental health and suicide prevention, such as

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