A heart specialist from Bangkok examined Nuon Chea, 82, for about two hours at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital Wednesday, said his defense lawyer, Son Arun.
The visit by the specialist was merely a check-up and had not been provoked by any medical crisis, he said.
“I just worry about his health and eating,” Nuon Chea’s wife, Ly Kimseng, said Thursday. “I’d always check his blood pressure two or three times a day. Sometimes when he was sitting with guests, he needed to go back to his room to relax, or take medicine to make his blood pressure go down.”
Co-Investigating Judge Marcel Lemonde said he and Co-Investigating Judge You Bunleng had ordered Wednesday’s examination, but declined to specify why.
“A medical assessment is underway, by two doctors [heart specialists], one from Bangkok, the other one from Calmette Hospital. This is a medical expertise ordered by the co-investigating judges on their own motion,” Lemonde said.
The court will release a brief statement on the results of the test in a week or so, he added.
Nuon Chea underwent a standard battery of medical tests on Sept 21, two days after his arrest. No serious medical issues arose at that point, Peter Foster, the tribunal’s UN public affairs officer said Thursday.
Son Arun said that Nuon Chea had to cut short an interview with court officials Sept 26 after he began to feel ill following more than an hour of questioning.
“He felt bad. I told the judges to stop. They stopped,” Son Arun said.
An on-site doctor promptly checked his blood pressure and found it to be high, Son Arun said, adding that Nuon Chea has had no health problems since.
Son Arun said he had full confidence in Cambodian doctors, but that an assessment by a foreign specialist could not hurt. “That’s international standards,” he said. “The ECCC is an international standard tribunal.”