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Archive for Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Khmer Rouge horrors detailed during trial

March 31, 2009

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— Prosecutors vowed today to get justice for the 1.7 million victims of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, some of whom were thrown to their deaths, bludgeoned and their bellies slit, or whose lives were drained away by medics drawing blood.

The grisly accounts were part of the indictment read into the record for the regime’s chief torturer and prison warden, Kaing Guek Eav, or Duch, the first suspect to face justice a full three decades after the Khmer Rouge 1975-79 reign of terror.

Duch, now 66, commanded the group’s main S-21 prison, also known as Tuol Sleng, where as many as 16,000 men women and children are believed to have been brutalized before being sent to their deaths.

The tribunal alleges that Duch oversaw such atrocities as execution by bloodletting, and the hurling of children down three stories to their deaths. He is charged with committing crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as torture and homicide, and could face a maximum penalty of life in prison. Cambodia has no death penalty.

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