Former Soldier Tells Tribunal Of Electric Shocks and Escape

A former Khmer Rouge soldier who claimed he served the revolution “with his full heart” told the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on Wednesday that he was jailed and shocked with electricity after being branded a “Khmer body with a Vietnamese head.”

Sun Vuth, who was born in 1957, said he held various roles after being forced to join the Khmer Rouge in 1974, including working as a messenger for Division 920 chief Ta Chhin in Mondolkiri province. He described how the division’s leadership was arrested and sent to Phnom Penh’s Tuol Sleng prison after they were accused of betraying “Angkar.”

Sun Vuth testifies at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday. (ECCC)
Sun Vuth testifies at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday. (ECCC)

Following the purge of division leaders, Mr. Vuth said, soldiers were next in the firing line as the regime attempted to remove cadre it suspected of colluding with the Vietnamese.

“Three people came to point their guns at me and I asked the reason, [and] they said that I betrayed Angkar. They ordered me to raise my hands, and after that they blindfolded me with a krama or scarf, and then I was taken away,” he said.

Upon arriving at a prison in Mondolkiri—which Mr. Vuth could identify only as a facility near O’Chbar stream—he said he was interrogated and tortured.

“They actually shocked me with an electricity cable, and I actually lost consciousness. I thought that I had died after I fell unconscious. After I gained consciousness, they shocked me again, and after that relapse they actually beat me and interrogated me,” he said.

“They put questions to me—whether I had…followed my commanders or that I colluded with the Vietnamese side. They accused me of being a Khmer body with a Vietnamese head,” he added.

After more than three months at the prison, Mr. Vuth said, he managed to escape.

“Maybe to you it’s superstition, because one night I dreamed that my parents told me that the local spirits would help me and that I should flee, and if I do not flee the next day then I will be taken away and killed,” he said.

Mr. Vuth said he and two other escapees fled into the forest near the Vietnamese border, where he remained until 1986, when he learned that his parents and siblings had been killed.

“I felt so painful: I served the revolution; I served Angkar with my full heart. I defended the country, but as a result my parents, siblings and relatives were killed. That was unbearable. Every time I think about that I want to kill myself,” he said.

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