Khmer Rouge 'First Lady' curses genocide tribunal

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The former 'First Lady' of the Khmer Rouge has told her accusers at Cambodia's genocide tribunal they would be 'cursed to the seventh circle of hell'.

Ieng Thirith, 76, who is facing trial for crimes against humanity under the communist regime, at first told the court that defence lawyers would speak on her behalf during her appeal against detention, saying: "I am too weak".

But she later erupted at the prosecution's suggestion that she was aware of atrocities at the notorious Tuol Sleng prison while she served as social affairs minister during the Khmer Rouge's 1975-1979 rule.

Although Ieng Thirith regained enough strength for her vigorous denial, the health of the ageing suspects is an ongoing concern.

Ieng Thirith's husband, the former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary, was admitted to hospital on Monday with a urinary condition.

In documents read to the court, investigating judges argued it was necessary to keep Ieng Thirith in jail to protect her security, preserve public order and ensure she did not flee from trial.

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