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About face S-21 photographer to launch own party

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Former S-21 photographer Nhem En gives his testimony before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in Case 002/02 against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan in April last year. Image: ECCC/Nhet Sokheng

About face S-21 photographer to launch own party

After a political career that has seen him switch allegiances several times, former S-21 photographer Nhem En has decided to go out on his own.

En, who photographed mug shots of inmates at the notorious Khmer Rouge prison, said yesterday that he had registered his new “Khmer Family Party” with the Interior Ministry and would compete for a seat in the 2018 election, but still needed to obtain the 4,000 thumbprints required to start a party.

The decision comes some six months after he defected to the Sourn Serey Ratha-led Khmer Power Party from the Cambodia National Rescue Party, which he joined after leaving the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Before that, he had been a member of the Khmer Rouge until defecting in the 1990s.

En, who once drew criticism for trying to sell Pol Pot’s toilet seat, said he was ready to forge his own path.

“In politics, if we don’t put our hands in, we don’t know how hot it is,” En said.

“I have been with different parties to see their policies but now . . . let’s see how strong this tiger is, let’s see if this tiger can catch the animals.”

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