40-year sentence demanded for Khmer Rouge torturer 'Comrade Duch'

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Cambodian prosecutors in the war crimes trial of the Khmer Rouge's former prison chief have demanded a 40 year jail sentence for the part he played in murdering thousands of Cambodians and spreading terror across Cambodia.

Kang Kek Ieu, known as Comrade Duch, was the director of the infamous Tuol Sleng prison, where thousands of Cambodians were sent to be tortured and killed at the height of Pol Pot's genocidal regime.

Duch encouraged the jail's interrogation teams to apply ever harsher torture techniques to their victims, including cutting off their fingers and toes, forcing them to eat their own excrement and literally bleeding them to death. The jail's chief executioner, Him Huy, told The Times that his boss used to like to watch the killers at work at Cheong Ek outside Phnom Penh, known as the Killing Fields, where prisoners were bludgeoned to death.

Under Duch's direction, 1,7000 men, women and children who had been accused of disloyalty were taken to Tuol Sleng – known as S-21 – to be interrogated until they implicated friends, relatives and even people they had never met in fantastical "plots" against the regime. Then they were killed. There was no reprieve; of the thousands who passed through the gates of S-21 between 1977 and 1979, only 15 emerged alive.

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