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Jailed Chhouk Rin begs army chief for AIDS drugs

Jailed Chhouk Rin begs army chief for AIDS drugs

Imprisoned former Khmer Rouge commander Chhouk Rin has appealed directly to the Commander

in Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) for the anti-retroviral (ARV)

medication he needs to battle HIV/AIDS.

In a letter written from Prey Sar prison to four-star General Ke Kim Yan, and dated

March 16, Rin asked Kim Yan to provide him with ARV treatment and some money. In

the same letter he also appealed to NGOs and claimed his family could no longer provide

him with the necessary medication.

"I am living with AIDS," Rin wrote. "Now my disease has become more

serious because I do not have ARV. I cannot live any longer if I do not have medicine."

The one-legged Rin and his troops, who once controlled Phnom Voar in Kampot province,

became the first group of Khmer Rouge soldiers to be integrated into the RCAF. Sources

say he became a close friend of Kim Yan after joining the government forces.

"Their relationship [Rin and Kim Yan] is like father and son," said Ouch

Nuon, Rin's former doctor and a close friend to Rin's family. "He [Kim Yan]

helped organize the wedding ceremony for Rin and his wife."

Nuon said Rin is battling hepatitis C, heart disease and AIDS and cannot survive

much longer without medical attention.

Yem Sav, Rin's wife still living at Phnom Voar, said when she visited Rin last week,

he told her to take the letter to Kim Yan's house, but she declined as she did not

know anybody in Phnom Penh or whom to contact.

"He told me that he always has a headache," said Sav, who says she contracted

AIDS from Rin. "The medicine is expensive and I cannot afford it. I have to

make money for many young children at home as well."

Sav said she is preparing to come to Phnom Penh to meet Kim Yan to plead for help.

"I think he [Kim Yan] will not ignore us," Sav said, "He used to help

us previously."

Mam Bun Heng, secretary of state at the Ministry of Health, said the MoH has cooperated

with the Ministry of Interior to provide ARV to inmates living with HIV/AIDS.

Rin, 54, was arrested on October 25, 2005, in remote Trapaing Prasath district of

Oddor Meanchey province, where he fled after the Supreme Court upheld his previous

conviction and gave him a life sentence in February. He was charged for his role

in a 1994 train ambush that killed 13 Cambodians and three Western backpackers.

Rin's superiors in the Khmer Rouge military, Nuon Paet and Sam Bith, were also sentenced

to life imprisonment and are in Prey Sar prison. Both are reportedly beset with health

problems.

In a 2000 interview after his arrest, Rin told the Post that Ke Kim Yan would protect

him.

Kim Yan could not be reached for comment.

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