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Jailed Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan hospitalized

Jailed former Khmer Rouge Head of State Khieu Samphan was hospitalized May 21 for high blood pressure amid rising concerns for the health of the elderly leaders of the 1970s regime who have been detained by Cambodia's UN-backed genocide tribunal.

Samphan, who has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, was taken from his detention cell at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) to Phnom Penh's Calmette Hospital. 

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said that Samphan's health was not critical, but that the 76 year-old required medical attention.

Samphan began suffering from high and irregular blood pressure long before his arrest last year, Sambath said, and his health is being closely monitored by the court.

"The tribunal is thinking about all of the defendants' health as they are old and have chronic conditions," Sambath said.

Two other former regime leaders detained by the tribunal, foreign minister Ieng Sary and Nuon Chea, who was Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's most trusted lieutenant, have frequently been hospitalized, but "after regular medical checks they seem much better," Sambath said.

This latest hospitalization came as the tribunal heard an appeal by Ieng Thirith, the Khmer Rouge's former social affairs minister, against her pre-trial detention. (Cheang Sokha)

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