Former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan is currently imprisoned in Kandal provincial prison, where he is serving out a life sentence for crimes against humanity.

According to officials from the Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) who visited Samphan in prison to observe his conditions, the former Democratic Kampuchea (DK) head of state who worked closely with Pol Pot during the reign of terror is still in good health, eating full meals and able to push his wheelchair on his own.

Samphan was found guilty by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), commonly known as the Khmer Rouge tribunal, for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide against Cambodia’s ethnic Vietnamese population.

The CHRC said that after carrying out an inspection of the human rights situation in Kandal prison, its team met with Samphan to hear about his situation as a prisoner.

“According to the working group, Khieu Samphan’s health condition is normal, for his age. He can eat, he can move, with his personal caregiver, doctors and prison officers paying attention to him,” said CHRC deputy director Chin Malin on March 26.

The CHRC said the team had been sent by its president Keo Remy to inspect the situation, led by its deputy director-general Chou Heng.

The post noted that the CHRC team inspects the human rights situation in prisons throughout Cambodia on a regular basis as it is one of its main missions to protect and improve human rights for the incarcerated. The team also brought along eight different essential medicines for use by ailing inmates on this visit.

In September 2022, the ECCC’s Supreme Court Chamber upheld the ruling sentencing Samphan to life imprisonment without any possibility of parole. The decision was final and his case concluded the active prosecutorial mission of the hybrid tribunal.