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Solo cell block for 'Duch'

Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who was sentenced to life in prison by the Khmer Rouge tribunal in February, will spend the rest of his days alone in a specially constructed cell at the Kandal Provincial Prison, government officials confirmed yesterday.

Prison arrangements for the convicted war criminal were finalised last week between the Ministry of Interior, which is responsible for detention of the accused and convicted at the tribunal, and the Office of the Co-Prosecutors at the tribunal.

“The cell was built for him before Khmer New Year. We built a separate cell for Duch because we can’t keep Duch with the other prisoners,” Kuy Bunsorn, director-general of the general department of prisons at the Ministry of Interior, told the Post.

“This is to provide protection and security for him because he is a Khmer Rougeprisoner, so the crimes he committed are different from criminal cases or other cases of other prisoners [at Kandal prison],” Bunsorn added.

The former S-21 chairman has been kept at the on-site detention facility at the UN-backed court in Choam Chao since his final appeal verdict in order for him to give testimony in the tribunal’s Case 002 and for prosecutors and government officials to finalise the arrangements for him to serve his sentence in a national detention facility.

Due to the gravity and profile of the crimes committed by Duch, officials fear he may be at risk from other prisoners, which is why he is being confined separately, Bunsorn said.

He is unsure of the timeline for Duch’s transfer to the provincial penitentiary.

Kandal provincial prison chief Moung Sam Ath said he also had not heard when the transfer of the man guilty of the murder of more than 12,000 people who passed through the doors of the Khmer Rouge interrogation centre would take place.

“He must be kept in a different cell from other prisoners, because Duch has bloody hands,” Moung Sam Ath said. “To my understanding, if we keep him with other prisoners, those who still have anger about the deaths of their family members during the Khmer Rouge may abuse him and we would not know [how to stop it].”

The prison chief described the specially built cell as being barren and barred apart from a single bed and a private bathroom.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at channyda.chhay@phnompenhpost.com

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