Khmer Rouge prison chief describes torture
April 29, 2009
(AP)The chief jailer of the Khmer Rouge, on trial for the killing of thousands of "state enemies" in the 1970s, said Wednesday that he trained peasant children as young as 12 to guard prisoners who were routinely electrocuted and whipped.
Kaing Guek Eav told a special tribunal that torturers used "a kind of mobile phone" connected to an electric current to shock prisoners. Other torture techniques used to extract confessions included whipping and beating.
But he denied that techniques such as putting plastic bags over prisoners' heads or waterboarding — in which drowning is simulated — were used.
Kaing Guek Eav, 66, alias Duch, commanded Phnom Penh's S-21 prison, where as many
as 16,000 men, women and children are believed to have been tortured before being sent
to their deaths.
He is being tried by a U.N.-assisted genocide tribunal for crimes against humanity, war crimes, murder and torture. An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died under the 1975-79 communist Khmer Rouge regime from forced labor, starvation, medical neglect and executions.
"The way people were detained, interrogated and smashed (killed) was unique to the prison (S-21)," said Duch, one of five senior Khmer Rouge leaders expected to face the tribunal.
"Because they were young, they were like clean pieces of papers that can be easily written or painted on," Duch said. "I myself educated them. I trained them."
He said that once these children arrived at S-21, he decided which of them would be trained as guards. Those who were unhealthy or very young were assigned to collect grass to feed rabbits.