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Plea for help to keep S-21 survivor alive

Plea for help to keep S-21 survivor alive

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Tuol Sleng survivor Vann Nath attends a hearing at the Khmer Rouge tribunal in June.

The family of Tuol Sleng survivor Vann Nath is asking for financial assistance to cover the mounting medical costs required to keep him alive.

The 66-year-old slipped into a coma last Friday and requires round-the-clock care, family members have said.

He was receiving treatment at a private clinic in Phnom Penh and the cost of his care was US$300 to $350 a day, his wife Kith Eng said.

This included dialysis and assisted breathing, she said.

“Since my husband got sick, I have spent about $2,000. On Wednesday, his situation deteriorated and I paid almost $1,000 for treatment,” she said.

Vann Nath is one of only three known living survivors of the Khmer Rouge’s interr-ogation centre S21, which has been turned into a genocide museum.

While a prisoner at S21, he was forced to paint portraits of Khmer Rouge leaders, but after they were driven from power he painted graphic scenes of the horrors that occurred inside.

Vann Nath also worked with film-maker Rithy Panh on the documentary S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, which brought survivors of the interrogation centre together with former guards.

Rithy Panh said yesterday  he would set up a fund at the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre to pay for his friend’s medical bills.

He said he had been hoping Vann Nath would recover quickly, but with medical expenses mounting it was time to help the family pay for them.

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