Ieng Thirith to appeal KRT detention today
The Mekong Times
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Ieng Thirith, a former Khmer Rouge government minister facing charges of crimes against humanity, will appeal for release from pre-trial detention by Cambodia's UN-assisted tribunal, a spokesman said yesterday.
The Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT) seeks justice for atrocities committed by the ultra-communist group when it ruled Cambodia in
Ieng Thirith, who was the Khmer Rouge social affairs minister, is among five suspects facing trial for their alleged roles in the brutal regime whose radical policies caused the deaths of about 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.
Reach Sambath, a KRT spokesman, said the 76-year-old Ieng Thirith will appeal at a hearing today for re lease from the detention facility.
He said medical doctors assigned to examine Ieng Thirith's health have determined she is fit to be brought before judges.
Ieng Thirith's Cambodian lawyer Phat Pouv Seang has cited a lack of evidence for detaining her and said she "suffers from a number of debilitating and chronic conditions, both mental and physical" that require constant medical treatment.
Ieng Thirith is the wife of Ieng Sary, the Khmer Rouge regime's deputy prime minister and foreign minister who is also detained on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Ieng Thirith is also
the sister-in-law of former Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, who died in 1998.
In a detention order issued in November, the tribunal's investigating judges said Ieng Thirith is to be tried for her support of Khmer Rouge policies and practices that were "characterized by murder, extermination, imprisonment, persecution on political grounds and other inhuman acts."
She has rejected the charges against her as "100 percent false," according to the detention order.
Ieng Thirith has denied responsibility for any criminal acts and said she worked at all times for the benefit of the people, according to an appeal filed in January by her lawyer, Phat Pouv Seang.
Ieng Thirith, who was among the first generation of modern female Cambodian intellectuals, studied English literature in Paris and worked as a professor after returning to Cambodia in 1957.
Three years later she founded a private English school in the capital, Phnom Penh.
She followed her husband into the jungle to flee government repression in 1965. Their communist movement later became a guerrilla force that toppled the pro-American Lon Nol government in 1975, putting Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge into power and turning the country into a vast
slave labor camp. The husband and wife, who are held in separate cells, have also been allowed to occasionally see each other in the presence of the detention guards, Reach Sambath said.