In Tuol Sleng, Duch Is Prosecutor, Judge and Killer

Posted by khmernews on December 6, 2006

There have been lots of documents remaining in Tuol Sleng prison after Khmer Rouge [KR] regime was overthrown on 7 January 1979.

The prison security gauds kept those documents, and maybe the majority of the documents were extracted confessions of 20,000 prisoners who were sent to Tuol Sleng prison for interrogation during the Khmer Rouge regime, where Khang Khek Leu, also called Duch, was a big brother who was in charge in there.

Also, there have been thousand pages of extracted confessions, thousands of photos and orders to torture the prisoners. There was a board on which a regulation was posted, saying that all prisoners were not allowed to shout out while they were being tortured, and that they had to respond to questions right away without thinking deeply. Ms. Elizabeth Becker, a researcher and author of a book entitled “the Tears of Cambodia”, said that Duch organized and controlled this deadly camp perfectly. The prison gauds took pictures of new prisoners who had just arrived, and then they took their pictures one more time when they nearly died. In some pictures, the prisoners were stained with blood bleeding from a slit on their throats. Other pictures show a verity of dreadful tortures. Those photos were a file that was compiled as evidence to proof that all enemies of Angkar (Khmer Rouge leadership organization) were really killed. Duch set different days for killing different kinds of prisoners; for example, he set the day for killing women, children, cadres, factory workers separately…

Because of his careful work, Duch had grater advantages than others and stepped into party’s hierarchy then. Therefore, Duch was granted privilege to participate in the group of the country’s important leaders that consisted of only four or five people. Very short time after Tuol Sleng prison was created in 1976, the harmony in the party’s central committee started to be fragile, and Pol Pot ordered Duch to search for party’s enemies from the top to the grassroots level. Furthermore, Duch detained many suspects that Pol Pot had mentioned, and helped in inventing evidence to accuse them. With given authority to search for party’s enemies through victims’ confession, Duch achieved his goal of killing a number of party leaders as he had wished, and no one suspected him of doing so. Duch and his prison gauds functioned as a judge, a prosecutor and a killer without being afraid of anyone.

It was found that the killing of people detained in Tuol Sleng prison in 1976 targeted at people from the old regime, including workers (164), students (61), teachers (35), medical practitioners and nurses (20), engineers (46), government officials (55), soldiers (209), and students and government officials who had ever studied and lived abroad (47). In 1977, the execution of cadres who were accused of betrayal went up to 44. Other 61 cadres were jailed, and 142 workers were killed. Also, 82 government officials and students who returned from abroad and 64 teachers were killed.

In 1977, it was rarely seen students, government officials, medical doctors, engineers and soldiers being killed.

In 1978, most of the killing targeted at cadres who were accused of treason against Angkar. The documents also showed KR hatred for foreigners. A Thai national who had arrested in Kampongsom was killed in May 1976. During a similar period, Indian and Pakistani students and businesspeople were also killed there [Tuol Sleng prison]. In 1978, American, Australian, England and New Zeelander marines who had arrested in Thai Gulf and on some islands close to the seashores were transported to jail in Tuol Sleng prison and killed then.

In 1976, about 200 people were sent to jail in Tuol Sleng. In 1977, more than 6,000 people were imprisoned there. It was estimated that in 1978, 12,000 people were detained in Tuol Sleng. Among the prisoners, only a few of them have survived from such killings.

Extracted from:  Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.14, #4143, Friday-Monday 26-27 November 2006


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