Duch Undergoes Operation Under Heavy Guard

As dozens of military police stood guard around Calmette Hos­pital Friday, doctors successfully operated on Comrade Duch, for­mer chief of the Khmer Rouge’s notorious Tuol Sleng pri­son, his lawyer Kar Savuth confirmed.

After an operation on his en­larged pros­tate gland, Duch was trans­ferred to Preah Ket Melea mi­litary hospital, where he will  spend about 10 days recuperating, Mili­tary Court Di­rec­tor Ney Thol said.

“So far he is healthy and there is no problem,” Ney Thol said.

Sean Visoth, head of the government’s Khmer Rouge tribunal task force, said he was unaware of the operation.

He added that he hoped Duch, whose real name is Kaing Khek Iev, will survive to stand trial.

“The important issue is that we want Duch to stay healthy and alive because he is one of the im­por­tant persons to testify at the trial,” Sean Visoth said.

Duch, 63, has been in solitary confinement since his arrest in 1999. Between 1975 and 1979, he was head of S-21, where he pre­sided over the deaths of about 14,000 prisoners. He escaped Phnom Penh on the eve of the Vi­etnamese invasion and was not heard of until 1999, when he was found alive and working for an NGO in northwestern Cambodia.


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