Wonderland Wire

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Khmer Rouge Custodial Torture Exposed

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by Marwaan Macan-Markar

29 Mar 09 | IPS

On a recent morning, tourists who visited a former high school in this city, turned into an infamous torture chamber during the brutal rule of the Khmer Rouge regime in the mid-1970s, were in for a surprise – the presence of a man who lived to tell the tale.

The tourists got to listen to Chum Mey, now 78 years, who was among the 11 people who came out alive from the four buildings that were turned into the Tuol Sleng prison, or S-21. At least 12,380 people imprisoned here, including children, were tortured and killed.

Chum Mey’s account of the sufferings that male and female prisoners endured within Tuol Sleng helped bring alive the scenes the visitors encountered when walking through the three floors of each of the grey-walled buildings, their window grills encrusted with rust and sections wrapped in barbed wire.

Some rooms have rusty bed frames on which prisoners were shackled and tortured. There is an endless gallery of black and white pictures of the victims – headshots – that the Tuol Sleng’s jailors took soon after the prisoners were brought in. Some show terror in their eyes.

In the coming weeks, Cambodians are expected to learn of hitherto unknown details of the horrors wreaked within the walls of the largest centre of detention and torture when the Khmer Rouge held this country under its brutal grip from Apr. 17, 1975 to Jan. 16, 1979. >>>

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Written by Editors

29 March 2009 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Asia, ICC

Tagged with , , , , , ,

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