Khmer Rouge torturer appeals

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The man who admitted overseeing the torture and killing of 16,000 people as the Khmer Rouge's chief prison warden returned to the courtroom yesterday in Cambodia to appeal against his 19-year prison sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Kaing Guek Eav – also known as Duch – is the only person so far to be tried by a special UN-backed tribunal set up to investigate and prosecute officials from the brutal ultra-Marxist regime whose four-year rule in the 1970s led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people. Duch, 68, was sentenced last July to 35 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity, but the sentenced was commuted to 19 years due to time already served and other technicalities.

Victims and relatives have expressed outrage about the leniency of the sentence.