Shops Ignore Ban on Iraqi Beheading Video

Phnom Penh shops are selling video compact discs of footage from Iraq—mostly of beheadings and torture of US and coalition soldiers and civilian workers—des­pite an order from the Min­istry of Culture and Fine Art to pull it from shelves.

The video clips include images of hands and tongues being cut off, often after extended pleas for military withdrawal from the Middle East.

There are also a few clips of the destruction and death wrought by the US-led invasion, including one wrenching scene of bodies lined up the length of a train station platform, many in pieces.

“We issued the order to prohibit vendors from selling the VCD,” said Cinema and Cultural Di­ffusion Department Director Som Sokun.

“The VCD is unethical and it will affect society,”

He warned that VCDs found by po­lice would be confiscated and vendors would be punished.

A shop at Phsar Thmei was still selling them Monday, however, though they were not on display.

“The police told me that I am not allowed to sell the VCD because it is very cruel, and children or gangsters might imitate it,” he said.

His shop copied the disc from one made elsewhere by downloading the content from the Internet, he said.

Thach Seng, who watched the VCD in his neighbor’s house in Olympique commune with other locals, said people are curious simply because the images are so extreme.

“It is very cruel,” he said. “All the villagers said those are the most cruel actions they have ever seen.”


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