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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Duch begs deputy to tell the truth

Duch begs deputy to tell the truth

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Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav testifies at the Khmer Rouge tribunal earlier this week.

In his last day of testimony, former S-21 deputy Mam Nai denies playing down his role at Tuol Sleng.

FORMER Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav begged his former deputy to tell the truth to judges at Cambodia's war crimes court Wednesday, after the deputy denied that he had downplayed his role at the torture facility earlier in the week.

Mam Nai, 76, admitted to the court that he felt regret for "some" innocent people who died at Tuol Sleng, but he said there were fewer innocent people than guilty people among the victims.

"I feel regretful for those small groups of good people who died. But I have never felt regret for those less-good people who died at S-21," Mam Nai said.

"I have been very remorseful because even my brothers, relatives, my wife and children died or suffered from the regime. I think it was a chaotic situation."

The former deputy, brought in as a key witness in his former boss's trial, wept from the dock as Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, demanded that he be honest about what happened at the prison.

"Now we are before history. You cannot use the basket to cover the dead elephant," Duch told Mam Nai.

"I think since I am ready to accept or be accountable for the crimes I have committed, I would want you to do the same. Please don't be afraid to die; just tell the truth."

Prosecutors confronted the witness on Wednesday with his own prison logbook, which contained numerous references to torture. But Mam Nai denied any knowledge that inmates were abused.

"Personally, I was never instructed on how torture was used," said Mam Nai. "And I have no idea what other kinds of practices were applied."

When prosecutor William Smith asked whether he was seeking to block from his mind the "horrible criminality" of his past actions, Mam Nai answered: "I have never had such [an] idea. I am testifying based on the activities I have done."

Former S-21 guard Him Huy was also brought in to testify Wednesday, but the court adjourned to allow him to consult with his lawyer over the issue of self-incrimination.

Court invites Pol Pot's brother
Around 100 villagers from Stung Sen district in Kampong Thom province, where Pol Pot was born, have been invited to attend the court on Thursday, including Pol Pot's brother, Salot Nhep, court spokesperson Reach Sambath said Wednesday.

"We have found Pol Pot's brother, Salot Nhep, 84, living there, and we want to invite him to attend the hearing," Reach Sambath said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

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