Asia

Comrade Duch in the Dock

Born-again Khmer Rouge prison director apologizes, asks for forgiveness in trial.

In four years, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge killed 1.7 million of their fellow Cambodians. In the first trial that addresses the horrors of the regime, the man known as Comrade Duch has asked forgiveness for crimes against humanity, war crimes, homicide, and torture.

Duch is the nom de guerre of Kaing Guek Eav. He ran Security Center 21, a prison where 17,000 people, including children were "smashed." As The Financial Times reports, that's "the Khmer Rouge's chilling euphemism for torturing and murdering victims as part of the regime's attempt to create a perfect agrarian society."

Duch is making the news for taking responsibility and apologizing - something none of the other accused have come close to. "At the beginning I only prayed to ask for forgiveness from my parents, but later I prayed to ask forgiveness from the whole nation."

Prayed? It's not a mistranslation. Duch was baptized under the pseudonym Hang Pin after his wife was murdered in 1996. Purpose Driven Connection published a story ...

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