Sticking up for dear ol' Dad
NuoThy and her father's bodyguards say ex-rebel Nuon Paet did not kill the three Western hostages brought by the Khmer Rouge to Phnom Penh Vour in 1994, he merely ordered their deaths.
NUON Paet, the former Khmer Rouge general accused of
murdering three foreigners in 1994, has told a Phnom Penh
judge he did not do it - a claim echoed by his daughter
and bodyguards, but with one qualification: they say he
Paet is being held in Phnom Penh's T3 jail awaiting trial
for the kidnapping and murder of Briton Mark Slater,
Frenchman Jean-Michel Braquet and Australian David
Speaking at the family home 10km from Pailin, Paet's
daughter Nuon Thy said she did not know that her father
had been arrested and asked, "Is he alive?"
She said that her father "did not kill the three
foreigners". At that point one of several soldiers
at the house said that a man named Vorn had killed them
"and Vorn is dead".
He said Vorn had been a Khmer Rouge defector who then
returned to the Khmer Rouge.
"He was killed during a fight in Phnom Vour in
1994," he said.
When asked who ordered Vorn to kill the three men, Thy
said: "My father did."
She added that her father never received any of the
ransom money that was meant to have been handed over for
the men's release.
The soldiers said that they were bodyguards of Nuon Paet,
although they all denied having been with him in 1994.
None would give their names.
One soldier said Paet was last seen when a man named Pgo
Sarran came to the house with a message allegedly from
Second Prime Minister Hun Sen.
"Pgo told him he could meet Hun Sen personally in
Battambang. We wouldlike to meet Pgo Sarran and talk to
him but he has disappeared," he said.
Both the soldier and Thy rejected suggestions that Paet
had been smuggling cars across the border from Thailand.
They said he was a farmer who bought and sold cows - not
Meanwhile in Phnom Penh, Paet is reportedly suffering no
ill effects from his incarceration.
A guard at T3 who asked not to be named said that Paet
appeared to be in good health. "He is getting his
daily food ration like the other prisoners," he
Requests to interview Paet were turned down by the
Justice Ministry on the grounds that he was the subject
of a criminal investigation.
The guard said that no one had spoken to Paet except for
the prosecutor and the investigating judge, but he did
not hear the conversations because "our duty is only
to guard and secure the jail, as well as the
He said Paet was isolated and did not talk to the other
prisoners and they did not talk to him.
Investigating judge for the Municipal Court, Oum Sarith,
said that he had spoken to Paet a few days after he had
"He denied the charge that he had committed the
act," Sarith said.
He said that the Kampot Provincial Court had transferred
their file on the case to the Municipal Court in Phnom
Penh but added: "We are continuing the probe. We do
not have enough evidence yet. We are trying to collect
more involved documents to examine."
He said he expected the case to go to court soon after
the investigation was completed.
Back in Pailin, family and friends are awaiting his
return - particularlyhis soldiers. "Nuon Paet didn't
kill these people. We are very sad for him. When will he
be back?" one asked.