Noun Chea Wants to Be Released on Bail
Jailed KRouge leader Nuon Chea appeals detention
18 November 2007
PHNOM PENH (AFP) — The senior surviving Khmer Rouge leader on Wednesday appealed his detention by a UN-backed tribunal in Cambodia that will prosecute him for his alleged role in the genocidal regime, officials said.
Nuon Chea, who has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, had previously said the tribunal's detention center was comfortable, his lawyer Son Arun told AFP.
"But now he has changed his mind... we cannot say why he wants to be released on bail, but it is his will," the lawyer said.
Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath confirmed that Nuon Chea had filed a bail request with the court's co-investigating judges.
The 81-year-old man's family had earlier demanded that he be released into their care, saying they were concerned about his health.
Nuon Chea has suffered at least one stroke and has high blood pressure, raising fears he could die before going to trial.
Son Arun said Wednesday that his client's health had not changed. He also said Nuon Chea had hired lawyer Michiel Pestman, who has extensive experience in international war crime proceedings, as his foreign co-counsel.
Nuon Chea, who was Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's closest deputy and was the alleged architect of the regime's sweeping execution policies, was arrested at his home in the former rebel stronghold of Pailin, near the border with Thailand, in mid-September.
He is the second former Khmer Rouge leader to be arrested by the tribunal. Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch was detained in July.
Three other people, whose names have not been made public, are under investigation for crimes committed during the communist regime's 1975-1979 rule.
Up to two million people died of starvation and overwork, or were executed under the Khmer Rouge, which abolished religion, schools and currency, and exiled millions to vast farms in its bid to create an agrarian utopia.
Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot died in 1998.
A tribunal to try the regime's top leaders got under way last year after some ten years in the making. Trials are expected in 2008.