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Khmer Rouge Member Asks Court to be Freed

Kaing Guek Eav, 67, known by his war moniker “Duch,” asked the panel in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia to release him this week. The judges did not respond to his appeal.

From 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge killed 1.7 million people when it controlled Cambodia, and Duch is the first of five members of the regime to be put to trial. The trial is structured as a mixed Cambodian-United Nations tribunal. Duch was the commandant of Tuol Sleng prison, also known as S-21. It is estimated that 14,000 to 17,000 men, women and children were tortured before they died in S-21. Duch claims he was just following orders.

For eight months, the court has heard the horror stories of the prison from the families of victims, historians and some of the few men and women who escaped death. Confessions obtained under torture were presented that contained Duch’s written comments stating that  the prisoner should be further tortured.

Four other defendants will be tried in the next stage of the tribunal. Unlike Duch, they held official senior positions in the Khmer Rouge leadership.

The judges will likely give their verdict on Duch early next year.

For more see the Washington Post.


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