Women Spared Torture in KR Prison: Witness

The second witness to testify before the Khmer Rouge tribunal about conditions at the Au Kaseng Security Center told the court Thursday she could see the physical effects of torture on men leaving the center’s interrogation room.

Moeung Chandy described watching men walking strangely after being sent to the interrogation room at the security center in Ratanakkiri province, which was about 30 meters from the hut she shared with four or five other female detainees.

“We could see that the way [they] walked was different from the normal way that [they] walked,” she said, leading her and the wives of the men to conclude they had been tortured.

Ms. Chandy explained that during her own short interrogation she had seen seen whips and electrical wires in the room. But after talking with other female detainees, she decided it was only men who were tortured.

Thursday’s testimony focused on the fourth trial topic in the second phase of Case 002 against regime leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan: internal purges committed by the Khmer Rouge and conditions at three security centers between 1975 and 1979.

Ms. Chandy, who was two months pregnant when she arrived at Au Kaseng in mid-1977, gave birth to a baby girl in January 1978 with the help of a male medic and other female inmates, she told the court.

With meagre food rations and forced to continue doing manual labor, she explained that she was unable to feed her newborn child.

“Because I did not have breast milk, I asked for sugarcane juice to feed her,” she said.

“Luckily enough, the baby survived and is still living now,” she said, noting, however, that her daughter was often unwell.

As well as testifying to seeing a female detainee being murdered and pushed into a pit by a guard at the center, Ms. Chandy spoke of finding a formerly empty B-52 bomb crater filled in the day after she saw a group of ethnic Jarai people being led away from the center with their hands tied.

“I could smell the decomposing bodies, but I could not tell who they belonged to. I was not interested in discovering whose bodies they were,” she said, having earlier noted that between 10 and 20 Jarai women and children had shared her detention cell for about a month.

In testimony that concluded Thursday morning, Ms. Chandy’s former husband, Phal Thol, also described finding a partially covered pit that smelled of rotting bodies, in which he believed over 100 Jarai had been buried shortly after being led out of Au Kaseng.

Ms. Chandy’s testimony is due to conclude on Monday.

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