‘Comrade Duch,’ Infamous Commander Of Khmer Rouge Prison, Dies In Cambodia

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Former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav appears in a courtroom of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in 2007.

Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP via Getty Images


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«Everyone who was arrested and sent to S-21 was presumed dead already,» he said.

The tribunal heard graphic testimony of torture at the prison that included the use of electric shocks, burning with hot metal and ripping out of toenails to extract forced confessions of often fabricated crimes.

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Photographs taken by the Khmer Rouge of some of the thousands of people held at Tuol Sleng, a former school in Phnom Penh turned into a torture center and death chamber during the fanatical communist movement’s 1975-79 rule of Cambodia.

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Nuon Chea, Top Khmer Rouge Leader, Dies At 93 While Serving Life Sentence

Even so, he and his legal team mounted an aggressive defense at the tribunal, sometimes quibbling over technicalities that might weigh in his favor and ultimately asking the court for an acquittal, which did not come.

Duch’s death follows the death of Nuon Chea nearly a year ago. Nuon Chea, who died at 93, had served as Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot’s chief lieutenant. Known as «Brother No. 2,» he was considered a chief architect of the regime’s genocide.

  • Khmer Rouge
  • Khmer Rouge war crimes
  • Cambodia

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