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Ruling Friday on Ieng Sary's detention

THE Khmer Rouge tribunal will hand down its decision whether to release Ieng Sary from pretrial detention in a public hearing on Friday.

Lawyers for the regime's former  foreign minister appealed against his provisional detention in July, saying their client's rapidly deteriorating health was one of many reasons to release him ahead of his likely trial.

Ieng Sary, 82, has been in detention since his arrest last November for crimes allegedly committed during the 1970s regime.

An ageing process

Lawyers for Ieng Sary claimed at the time of the appeal that their client could hardly stand up and needed constant medical attention.

But prosecutors argued that the defendant was "not anywhere near" death. He has since been hospitalised several times since his arrest.

With the exception of Duch, who is in his mid-60s, all of the charged persons at the tribunal are in their 70s and 80s, and worries for their health have put pressure on the court to speed the process along.

Court spokesperson Reach Sambath said that the public hearings were important to the public's understanding of the trials.

"The public have a right to see [the hearing], it is an important process," he told the Post Tuesday.

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