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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Duch talks of Western victims of Tuol Sleng

Duch talks of Western victims of Tuol Sleng

KHMER Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav told Cambodia's war crimes court Wednesday that two of the Westerners imprisoned at the S-21 security centre had been interrogated on his orders. 

"For the Cambodian cadre, we were instructed by the superiors who was special and who was not. But for the foreigners, I made that decision. I assigned [deputy of interrogations] Comrade Pon to interrogate them," the former jailer, known as Duch, told the court in response to questions from civil party lawyer Hong Kim Suon.

"There was one American, a British, a New Zealander and an Australian," he said, adding that Comrade Pon had interrogated "a New Zealander and maybe a British guy".

He told the court that Western prisoners at Tuol Sleng were kept in a "special prison" away from their Cambodian and Vietnamese counterparts until "the second quarter of 1978".

Waterboarding ‘not used'

Duch on Wednesday also denied using the technique known as waterboarding as a torture method, telling the court he preferred more simple methods of interrogation.

"The first items to be used for torture were whips and electrical wire from a phone cord," he said.

He said waterboarding involving "a scarf and water" was "another technique learned from the Lon Nol police".

But Duch said he questioned the use of techniques that could potentially kill victims and cause confessions to be lost. 

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