Khmer Rouge chief jailer sentenced to 19 years
Monday 26 July 2010
A former Khmer Rouge chief jailer was sentenced to 19 years behind bars today after a United Nations-backed tribunal found him guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, listened impassively as the chief judge read out the verdict in Phnom Penh.
It was the first verdict to be handed down against a senior member of the genocidal regime blamed for the deaths of 1.7 million people during its 1975-79 reign of terror.
The court sentenced Duch to 35 years in prison, but subtracted the 11 years he had already spent in detention and five more for co-operating with the court.
Judge Nil Nonn noted that Duch admitted to heading Tuol Sleng, a top-secret detention centre for the worst "enemies" of the state, where more than 16,000 people were killed, many after being tortured.
An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died from starvation, medical neglect, slave-like working conditions and execution under the Maoist regime that sought to turn the country into an agrarian utopia.
Their bodies were dumped in shallow mass graves that still dot the countryside.
The group's top leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998 and four other top members of the Khmer Rouge are awaiting trial.
Unlike the other defendants, Duch - pronounced Doik - was not among the ruling clique and is the only major figure of the regime to have expressed remorse, even offering at one point to face a public stoning.
The former maths teacher joined Pol Pot's movement in 1967. Ten years later he was the trusted head of its ultimate killing machine, S-21, which became the code name for Tuol Sleng.
Only 14 prisoners are thought to have survived ordeals at the prison that included medieval-like tortures to extract "confessions" from supposed enemies of the regime, followed by executions and burials in mass graves outside Phnom Penh.
The gruesome litany of torture included pulling out prisoners' toenails, administering electric shocks, waterboarding - a form of simulated drowning - and medical experiments that ended in death.
Duch's surprise request on the final day to be acquitted and freed, after weeks of saying he was sorry, left many wondering if his contrition was sincere. Some feared he would get off lightly.
Prosecutors had asked that he face 40 years in prison.
Hundreds of villagers - many who lost family members during the Khmer Rouge - attended the hearing.
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing
Syrian teenager Usaid Barho reveals how he escaped from Isis using a suicide vest
Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
UK weather: 'Coldest night of the year' tonight as freezing temperatures plummet to -10C
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Douglas Carswell tells Ukip to stop blaming foreigners as youth poll shows Nigel Farage is even less popular than Nick Clegg
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a global marketin...
£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...