Court increases Khmer Rouge jailer’s prison term to life

Former Khmer Rouge executioner and prison chief Kaing Guek Eav also known as Duch.

CAMBODIA – The Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Supreme Court has ordered the regime’s chief jailer to serve life imprisonment, a surprise ruling that stiffens a 19-year sentence imposed by a lower court.
Kaing Guek Eav – also known as Duch – was commander of the notorious S-21 prison where thousands of Cambodians were tortured before execution.
In 2010, the tribunal’s lower court convicted him of war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and murder. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison but had 11 years shaved off.
The sentence was appealed by prosecutors, who called it too lenient, and by Duch, who argued it was too harsh.
The ruling marks the end of the tribunal’s first war crimes case, which came more than 30 years after the Khmer Rouge’s brutal reign.
Duch is thought to have headed a security centre north of Phnom Penh, known as M-13, before becoming deputy head of S-21 in 1975, the year the Khmer Rouge took full control of Cambodia.
When S-21’s boss was removed from his position the following year and later killed, Duch took over the facility. He claims he tried to refuse the role.
At least 15,000 people were tortured and executed at the former high school between 1975 and 1979.
The prison chief escaped west towards the Thai border when Vietnamese and Cambodian forces drove the Khmer Rouge from power in 1979.
He is thought to have resumed teaching in the early 1990s in the western part of the country, where many of the deposed Khmer Rouge took refuge.
Following the death of his wife during a burglary in 1995, he converted to Christianity.
The Khmer Rouge movement dissolved in the late 1990s. In 1999, a photojournalist tracked Duch down in western Cambodia and he was detained by authorities.



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