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Beatings, interrogation recalled by ex-prisoner

A Khmer Rouge tribunal civil party yesterday recalled being beaten, interrogated and imprisoned in Takeo’s Tram Kak district after his children were forced to lie and denounced him as a soldier of the former regime.

Rice farmer Thann Thim, 70, said he pleaded his innocence upon being seized by militia near a watermelon plantation in 1978, where he had been led by his unit chief for a “meeting”, telling them he previously sold firewood and had never been in the military.

He said that the group of four to five militiamen had accused him of being a lieutenant in the Lon Nol regime, whose members were targeted by the communists, according to the Case 002/02 charges against former Democratic Kampuchea leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.

“They did not believe me, they kept beating me up, they changed hands one after another in doing so and they threatened me to tell them the truth,” said Thim, who was recalled to the tribunal yesterday to expand on his April 2 testimony.

“They said that my children told them about my rank, my children at the time were rather young, they were about 6 or 7 years old.”

Taken to Tram Kak’s Ang Roka prison, Thim later learned that his daughter had been forced to lie about his background after she was caught stealing sugar cane.

The civil party said he was interrogated again at Ang Roka and shackled in a hall for three months with up to 70 prisoners.

He recalled four or five of the prisoners would be “taken away” regularly, but said he didn’t see them executed.

Following Thim’s testimony, former Tram Kak district chief Pech Chim began his testimony by charting his rise through the Khmer Rouge ranks after becoming a full member in 1971.

Meanwhile, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia yesterday released its revised 2015 budget, which was bumped up about $6.4 million from the approved budget to $33.8 million.

Within this, $27.1 million will fund the international component of the hybrid court and $6.7 million their national counterparts.

The final amount spent last year was also announced to be $27.8 million, $2 million less than what had previously been approved.

The trial continues today.

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