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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ieng Sary's wife knew of purges

Ieng Sary's wife knew of purges

IENG THIRITH, like her husband, has claimed ignorant innocence about Khmer Rouge

killings. However, entries in a notebook discovered in DC-Cam by researcher Steve

Heder tell a different story.

The notebook records two speeches by Ieng Thirith in her capacity as the "Aunt

Representing the Social Action Ministry Committee" and "the Representative

of the Party for Social Action". Thirith was Democratic Kampuchea Minister for

Social Action, and a former worker in the ministry now living in Phnom Penh confirmed

to Heder that these titles were used to refer to her.

The Thirith speeches in the notebook were made in late May and June 1978, during

the massively murderous purge that wiped out most of the leading Communist Party

cadre of Democratic Kampuchea's East Zone.

In the first, she praises her "comrades" in the Ministry for having "clearly

differentiate[d]" during the purge between those who have betrayed the nation

and those who have not betrayed the nation", while warning ominously that those

in the Ministry who don't mend their "liberal" ways will "inevitably

fall into the pit of darkness", and asking pointedly, "are you on the side

of the Party or on the side of the Yuon?"

In the second, she refers to the purges in the East by proclaiming that a coup d'etat

in the East Zone that had supposedly been plotted together with the "Yuon"

had been "totally smashed" ("smashing" being the Party euphemism

for killing).

She adds that her Ministry has "contributed to attacking the coup d'etat enemy",

presumably by helping to smash the "technical experts" in the Ministry

that she alleges were guilty of "wrecking" and having turned into "CIA

cores".

However, she warns that the work of eliminating enemies is not over because "the

wish of our Party is that we attack enemies" inside the Ministry "so that

they are prevented from being able to raise their heads back up". It was, no

doubt, the dark pit for them.

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