Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ieng Thirith’s health not improving: son

Ieng Thirith’s health not improving: son

Ieng Thirith in a seat at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in 2011 during a preliminary hearing on her fitness to stand trial
Ieng Thirith in a seat at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in 2011 during a preliminary hearing on her fitness to stand trial. ECCC

Ieng Thirith’s health not improving: son

Despite travelling to Thailand this month to receive medical treatment for a host of ailments, former Khmer Rouge tribunal defendant Ieng Thirith’s condition is worsening, and she is likely to remain hospitalised there for some time, her son said yesterday.

According to Ieng Vuth, the deputy governor of Pailin province and Thirith’s son, the former Khmer Rouge minister of social affairs suffered a broken hip in a fall from her bed, a condition that isn’t healing, because pain caused by a heart condition prevents the 82-year-old from lying still.

“Her health has not improved; instead it is worsening.” Vuth said. “And we do not know how long she will stay in the hospital.”

Though Thirith remains under judicial supervision, she was released from detention and court proceedings against her were stayed in September 2012 after she was found unfit to stand trial due to advancing dementia. The dementia, Vuth said yesterday, makes it more difficult for doctors to treat her, and more difficult for Thirith to understand their instructions.

“Of course, we are really concerned about her condition,” he said, adding that the family was closely monitoring the situation.

A filing in which Thirith requested permission to travel to Thailand notes that in addition to conditions affecting both the spine and the artery that carries blood to the lower body, Thirith showed “evidence of cerebral atrophy” as well as two small strokes in a CT scan in January.

Thirith’s treatment in Thailand coincides with the court’s reassessment of the fitness to stand trial of its remaining defendants – 82-year-old ex-head of state Khieu Samphan and 87-year-old Brother No 2, Nuon Chea.

The two underwent a physical and psychological assessment on Tuesday, but an optional public hearing on the findings that had been tentatively scheduled for Friday wasn’t held because none of the legal teams requested it.

“The medical reports are confidential, however the two reports indicate that both accused are fit to stand trial,” said prosecutor William Smith in an email yesterday. “There is no information in the reports that presents any immediate concern as to their health in the foreseeable future.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STUART WHITE

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and