Khmernews

Pol Pot’s Youngest Brother Welcomes Khmer Rouge Trials

Posted by khmernews on August 15, 2007

Among Pol Pot’s 6 siblings, only Saloth Nheb is still alive. He is living in Pol Pot’s hometown in Prek Sbov, Stung Saen, Kompong Thom. In his old age, Saloth Nheb, 82, is supported and taken care of by his children. Saloth Nheb has become an important person who can tell about Pol Pot’s background. People who want to know about Pol Pot always approach him. So far since 1979, Saloth Nheb has received many Cambodian and foreign journalists, authors, and researchers. Especially, as the Khmer Rouge (KR) Tribunal is moving forward to bringing senior leaders of and people most responsible for the KR regime to justice, Saloth Nheb is also busier to welcome those guests who want to hear his opinions. These things have bored him because since 1979 up to the present time, he has always answered to the same questions.

Along Stung Saen river around 3 kilometres in the east of Kompong Thom provincial town lies a village called Prek Sbov, where Saloth Sar, better known as Pol Pot, leader of the KR regime, who brought Cambodia into a great devastation 30 years ago, was born. Most of the villagers—both young and old—in Prek Sbov haven’t recognized Pol Pot’s face since he had left his hometown since he was a boy. However, the people who are living near his house said that they had heard that Pol Pot’s parents and grandparents were docile people and said that how Pol Pot became an evil despot who tortured people both physically and psychologically and caused the massacre of his own Cambodians was a great doubt to the villagers. 

Saloth Nheb, Pol Pot’s youngest brother, is also doubtful why his brother did all those cruel things. In his old age, his back is now bent and while walking, he needs to be supported by a stick.

“I can’t see clearly; and I can’t even recognize my grandchildren,” complaint the old man. Dressed in an O-necked shirt and black trousers, he struggled on sitting in a hammock, chatting with journalists. However, we were not allowed to take his pictures.   

“I really wonder. When he was young, “this man” was not cruel. He was a docile boy. He shouldn’t have done such acts,” Saloth Nheb talked about Pol Pot. The old man didn’t argue with the people who accused Pol Pot of killing people, and claimed that he was also a victim like other Cambodians since his family was suffered from the KR regime led by his own brother too.

“My family and I went through the Pol Pot regime and were suffered like other people in the country too. I was transferred from one “Cooperative” to another and had to do all the hard labour tasks. I was sometimes nearly killed. My wife was forced by the Angkar to shoulder human excrement to make fertilizer for planting vegetables,” described Saloth Nheb.

In Prek Sbov, Saloth Nheb’s family is considered to be a good family. Saloth Nheb is a respectful senior citizen who has involved in building schools and pagoda over there. Saloth Nheb has shown his enthusiasm on the process of the KR Tribunal which is moving forward to the KR trials. “This issue depends on the court. I don’t know anything. I am also a victim. If the court chooses me to be a witness, I won’t be afraid, but I’m now very old. It’s not necessary for me since they have already had enough documents,” he claimed.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Samne Thmey, #122, Monday-Sunday, August 6-12, 2007.

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