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Witness says he was told to lie

A former Kraing Ta Chan Security Centre inmate testifying at the Khmer Rouge tribunal revealed yesterday that some of his former prison officers – including an alleged child murderer and prison chief – had tried persuading him to change his evidence to protect them.

Civil party Soy Sen, testifying for a second day, told the court that the man allegedly in charge of the facility where thousands of people were tortured and executed had asked him to lie to anyone looking into the history so he could conceal his role.

“He said that he considered that I am his child, his son, so he told me that I can go and ask him for help . . . he suggested that we were prisoners and we received torture at that place,” Sen said, adding that the man, chief at Kraing Ta Chan until 1975, then offered him money.

Sen also said a guard at the prison – who he claimed had killed a young child against a tree – appealed for protection.

“He used to talk to me and tell me that if I was asked anything about him please just tell that we were prisoners at that time,” he said.

Sen, who spent almost five years incarcerated at the compound after being arrested at the age of 16, said that he feared testifying would spark reprisals with at least four of his former guards still living within 10 kilometres from his home.

Partway through his evidence, civil party lawyers requested the hearing be closed to the public for Sen’s safety.

However, judges postponed ruling on the request and advised the civil party to avoid identifying cadres by the name.

The third former Kraing Ta Chan inmate to testify in Case 002/02 against former Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Sampan and Nuon Chea, Sen recalled digging mass graves and hoisting up prisoners left by cadres in underground cells.

He said messengers from the district authority would bring letters everyday with the names of those to be executed in red.

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