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Khieu Samphan's apologia in English

Former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan has had his personal history published

in Khmer and English, and is about to release a video disc featuring himself telling

the story of the book.

Samphan, who is likely to be one of those charged with genocide between 1975 and

1979, had previously published his memoir in Khmer and French.

In Cambodia's Recent History and the Reasons behind the Decisions I made, he denies

allegations against him of being responsible for the regime's involvement in the

deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people.

Puy Kea, a Cambodian journalist, was commissioned by Samphan to translate and print

the English version, which went on sale on August 5 for $8.

Kea said Samphan will launch his VCD of the book in September.

Kea said he invested his personal money of about $4,000 to have the English translation

done by Reahoo Translation, and printed 2,000 copies.

"It is not a big profit for me. I wanted to bring information to the public

about Khieu Samphan's role and the original words from him," said Kea.

He said another publisher intends to translate Samphan's book into both Chinese and

Thai.

In a cover note Kea says: "I consider it part of a journalist's role to report

news and information from all sources in a fair, balanced manner. In doing so, I

hope this book contributes to the efforts to strengthen Cambodian democracy, especially

the freedom of expression, the right to know and the right to disagree."

Samphan himself writes in the foreword that he ended up "in the position of

a privileged witness to the murderous events and the devastating wars that gripped

our country, without respite, for nearly 30 years.

"However, since it was imperative that our country survive this peril, I could

not remain neutral. At each crucial historical event at that time, I chose to side

with the forces which, despite their reputations and their contradictory acts, seemed,

in essence, to support Cambodian sovereignty.

"Considering all those forces that fought against foreign intervention in my

country were national forces, I considered it my duty to stand by the government,

which was struggling to maintain Cambodia's sovereignty."

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