Sunday, 27 March 2011

Former Khmer Rouge prison chief seeks acquittal

via CAAI

Mar 26, 2011

PHNOM PENH - CAMBODIA'S war crimes court will hear appeals next week in the case of of former Khmer Rouge cadre Duch, who is seeking acquittal despite admitting running a feared jail where thousands died.

Duch, 68, was sentenced to 35 years in prison last July for war crimes and crimes against humanity for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people at the notorious torture prison Tuol Sleng in the late 1970s.

The jailer, whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav, was the first former Khmer Rouge cadre to face an international tribunal.

His sentence was reduced to 30 years on the grounds that he had been detained illegally for years. And given time already served, Duch could walk free in less than 19 years, much to the dismay of many victims of the brutal 1975-1979 regime.

Prosecutors are also appealing, hoping to have Duch's sentence increased to life, to be commuted to 45 years for time served in unlawful detention.

During his trial, Duch repeatedly apologised for overseeing mass murder at the detention centre, also known as S-21, but shocked the court by asking to be acquitted in his closing statement in November 2009. -- AFP

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