Former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, 76, has been partially paralyzed for more than a week and cannot walk or talk normally, his daughter Khieu Ratana said Wednesday.
“The left half of his body is numb,” she said by telephone, adding: “He’s not able to walk. When he walks he needs someone to help carry him.”
“He can speak but not clearly. I am worried,” she said.
“It’s more serious than before. Before, he was numb only one or two hours a day,” she added.
Khieu Samphan was taken by ambulance from the Khmer Rouge tribunal detention center to Calmette Hospital on May 21 for treatment related to high blood pressure.
Khieu Ratana said her father’s condition worsened just over a week ago, after his hospitalization. She said she did not know what her father’s diagnosis was.
Family members and neighbors say he has long suffered from high blood pressure. He collapsed at his Pailin home on the eve of his November arrest on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Tribunal Public Affairs Chief Helen Jarvis said Wednesday afternoon that she could not confirm whether Khieu Samphan had suffered a stroke.
“He’s still in hospital for observation and tests,” she said Wednesday afternoon. “As far as I know there has been no change for the worse.”
Khieu Samphan’s Cambodian attorney, Say Bory, could not be reached for comment.
Many fear aging Khmer Rouge leaders could die before being brought to justice.
Former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary takes a dozen medications every day, has suffered from heart disease since 1992, had a double heart bypass in 1994, and three angioplasties, the most recent in January 2006, according to a January 2008 medical report.
In an April letter to co-investigating judges, Nuon Chea’s Cambodian attorney, Son Arun, wrote that his client suffers from “generally unclear” thinking, back pain from prolonged sitting, and sensitive eyes.
Ieng Thirith’s attorneys maintain she suffers from chronic mental and physical illness, which could be aggravated by prolonged detention. Prosecutors disagree.