Anger in Cambodia Over Khmer Rouge Sentence

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For 30 years since the brutal Khmer Rouge regime was driven from power, Cambodians have lived with unresolved trauma, with skulls and bones from killing fields still lying in the open and with parents hiding the pain of their past from their children.

A Cambodian woman cried after Kaing Guek Eav, a Khmer Rouge leader responsible for more than 14,000 deaths, was sentenced to 35 years Monday.

Journalists watched in Phnom Penh as Kaing Guek Eav, awaited his sentence. It was Cambodia’s first conviction of a major Khmer Rouge figure.

On Monday, Cambodia took a significant step toward addressing its harsh past with the first conviction of a major Khmer Rouge figure in connection with the deaths of 1.7 million people from 1975 to 1979.

But some survivors were distraught over what they saw as a lenient sentence, one that could possibly allow the defendant, Kaing Guek Eav, 67, commonly known as Duch, to walk free one day.

A United Nations-backed court found Duch (pronounced DOIK), the commandant of the central Khmer Rouge prison, Tuol Sleng, guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 35 years in prison for overseeing the torture and killing of more than 14,000 people. The court reduced that term to 19 years because of time already served and in compensation for a period of illegal military detention....

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