The Khmer Rouge’s Brother Number Two Nuon Chea is being cared for at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital after being sent for emergency treatment on Tuesday.
While the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) spokesman Neth Pheaktra would not confirm what Chea was suffering from, a doctor said an ulcer on the 93-year-old’s toe had turned black.
The ECCC, commonly known as the Khmer Rouge tribunal, found Chea guilty in November of genocide against the ethnic Vietnamese, the Cham Muslim minority group and former officials in the previous Khmer Republic government.
Pheaktra told The Post on Sunday that Chea, who was second-in-command only to Pol Pot, had been sent to the hospital on Tuesday for medical attention.
“I can confirm that Chea is not back in prison. I cannot confirm what he is suffering from as information regarding his health is confidential,” he said.
Ngee Meng, the director of the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, declined to comment on the matter on Sunday, saying he was in a meeting.
Fresh News quoted a doctor who asked not to be named as saying Chea was sent to the hospital on Tuesday at 3:30pm.
He had been suffering from an ulcer on his toe that had turned black. Due to his advancing years, blood did not circulate to his extremities, which caused the ulcer. He also had a painful trapped nerve, the doctor said.
“Nuon Chea’s ailment shows no signs of threatening his life. Doctors are ready to treat the ulcer,” he said.
Former Khmer Rouge leader and co-founder Ieng Sary died at the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital in March 2013. His wife Ieng Thirith died in August 2015.
Youk Chhang, the director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam), said he hoped that Chea’s ailment was due to old age and not karma. There was much regarding the ultra-Maoist regime that he had not spoken of publicly.
“He has spoken about some things from the Khmer Rouge era but not everything,” Chhang said.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal ruled on case 002/02 at a public hearing on November 16, last year, sentencing Chea and Khieu Samphan, who served as head of state, to life in prison. Samphan was found guilty of genocide against the ethnic Vietnamese.
Both were charged with offences carried out between 1977 and 1979.