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Khmer Rouge Survivors Put Trust in Kingdom's Laws to Deal With Khieu Samphan

Phnom Penh: As the appeal hearing of Khieu Samphan continues, survivors of the Khmer Rouge say they trust the kingdom’s laws to deal with him. Samphan is the last surviving henchman of Pol Pot and is appealing his life sentence for genocide and crimes against humanity. The appeal hearing has stirred up bitter memories for those who survived the Khmer Rouge, but they’ve told EAC News that the law must take its course.

Three women have shared their stories how they survived the Khmer Rouge regime. They mostly remember the starvation and the punishment if they didn’t work hard. That was the time when Khieu Samphan, Pol Pot’s last henchman, was head of state. They say they followed the laws of Khmer Rouge in order to survive and so this time they will let the laws of the kingdom punish him. They say Samphan deserves to suffer.

78-year-old Yin Leap was a teacher during the Khmer Rouge. She says she was very careful in everything she did in order to stay alive. “Khieu Samphan deserves what he gets now. He is lucky that our government didn’t execute him. I’m glad that our government now has a heart and didn’t punish Samphan the way he did us during the Khmer Rouge.”

Another survivor, 57-year-old Neang was a child during the regime. She still remembers the feeling of starvation. “As what I can see according to what he did to all the Khmer citizens, it was too much. He deserved to be punished by life imprisonment. I would be happy if the government rejected his appeal.”

61-year-old Em Saven says she worked hard on a farm to be able to get food. “Life was not easy back then. They only gave us a cup of rice for three people. Now, as a citizen, I don’t know what to say. I just follow the law and the decision of the government because at that time, I lived under the Khmer Rouge’s law – doing what they told me to do.”

These women say that working hard and following instructions were the most important things to do during the years of the Khmer Rouge. But now, they say they support whatever the government and the law will decide regarding Khieu Samphan’s appeal against his life sentence.

Mrs. Em Saven

Mrs. Yin Leap


Mrs. Srey Neang



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