KRT Suspect Khieu Samphan in Hospital for 10 Days With Cold

Former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan has spent more than 10 days at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh after contracting what was described as a “cold” while held at a government detention facility, a spokes­man for the Khmer Rouge tribunal said yesterday.

The 78-year-old was admitted to Calmette on March 14 and remains hospitalized and receiving treatment, Khmer Rouge tribunal legal affairs spokesman Lars Olsen said yesterday.

“The only thing I can say is that he has a cold, but that it is not thought to be serious,” Mr Olsen said. “He has been kept in hospital under observation. We expect him to be back in detention within a few days.”

Mr Olsen said he could not comment further on Khieu Samphan’s condition.

Khieu Samphan’s daughter Khieu Rathana said she was unaware of her father’s illness or his stay in hospital.

“I didn’t know that,” she said yesterday by telephone from Pailin, adding that she would now go and visit her father.

Khieu Samphan was arrested in November 2007 and has been consistently denied bail by the tribunal.

In November, his provisional detention was extended for a third and final year. For so-called international crimes such as genocide and war crimes, Cambodian law allows sus­pects to be detained for a maximum of three years. Khieu Sam­phan’s charges include genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, murder.

In May 2008, Khieu Samphan was hospitalized at Calmette after suffering a stroke. However, investigating judges in October of that year rejected defense arguments that he should be released on health grounds, citing expert cardiological and neurological medical opinions which found that Khieu Samphan had “progressed very favorably” and was healthy enough to remain in detention and participate in his own defense.

Sa Sovan, Khieu Samphan’s Cambodian lawyer, said yesterday that his client was sent to the hospital because he had a fever.

“He caught a fever, but we have to send him to the hospital since he is old,” Mr Sovan said. “It is nothing to do with the” 2008 stroke, he said.

The mounting years and poor health of the five suspects currently detained by the tribunal has long been a concern at the tribunal, which was established 27 years after the collapse of the regime.

Four of the five suspects are in their late 70s and early 80s while Kaing Guek Eav, the former chief interrogator of the regime, is at 67 the youngest of the detainees.

 

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