An Expected Ending to the Saga of Turmoil in the Ranks of the Khieu Samphan Defense?
Former Khmer Rouge leader withdraws appeal against detention
Phnom Penh, Oct 10: Former Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan has dropped an appeal against his pre-trial detention by Cambodia's UN-backed genocide court, his defence team said on Friday, citing the delay in proceedings.
The 77-year-old has been detained by the court since November on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role during the regime's brutal 1975-1979 rule.
Soon after his arrest, Khieu Samphan appealed against his pre-trial detention, but judges adjourned the hearing after his French lawyer Jacques Verges said he was unable to properly mount a defence as 16,000 pages of court documents had not been translated into French.
Khieu Samphan's Cambodian lawyer Sa Sovan said he filed an application with the court on Wednesday to withdraw the appeal because "we don't know when they (the judges) will have the hearing."
Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath confirmed the withdrawal and said the pre-trial chamber had agreed to it.
However, Sa Sovan said the defence team had also asked the investigating judges not to renew the detention when it expires on November 19 and the team still awaits translation of the documents into French -- the court's official language.
Khieu Samphan is one of five senior Khmer Rouge leaders, mostly in their 70s and 80s, in detention awaiting trial for their alleged roles in the 1975-79 atrocities.
Up to two million people died of starvation, overwork or execution under the Khmer Rouge, which dismantled modern Cambodian society in its effort to forge a radical agrarian utopia.
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