Jailed Khmer Rouge leader wants better prison toilet
The most senior surviving leader of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime was arrested early on Wednesday in his home in northwest Cambodia and brought to the capital.world Updated: Sep 22, 2007 17:35 IST
Detained Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea wants different food and a new toilet in his cell at a UN-backed genocide court where he is awaiting trial on war crimes, his lawyer said on Saturday.
The most senior surviving leader of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime was arrested early on Wednesday in his home in northwest Cambodia and brought to the capital where he was put in the tribunal's custody.
The lawyer, Son Arun, said Nuon Chea had complained about the high-calorie meals provided by the tribunal.
"Nuon Chea said the food is delicious, but he worried about hyper-tension after eating it. So he has asked for his meals to be made of fish and vegetable so that he can live longer to stand the trials," Son Arun said.
Age and failing health are major concerns for the tribunal given that the crimes committed under the regime occurred three decades ago.
Official documents say Nuon Chea is 81, although his lawyer earlier said he was 82.
Nuon Chea has denied the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, saying he was never in a position to order any of the deaths that occurred under the Khmer Rouge.
His cell is equipped with a squat toilet, which Son Arun said was too hard for him to use.
"He cannot sit on the squat toilet because of an ailment in his knees. When he squats over it, he has difficulty trying to get back up. He needs a sitting toilet," Son Arun told AFP.
"I have already requested the tribunal to replace the squat toilet with a sitting toilet for him."
The tribunal's spokeman Reach Sambath said the squat toilet was installed for security reasons.
"The squat toilets have fewer moving parts that could cause injuries and have fewer places to hide things," he said.
But he said the court would bow to that demand. "We will provide him the best services and facilities," he added, saying the court would also replace a woven mat with a mattress for the suspect.
Up to two million people died during the communist Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 rule, during which Nuon Chea claimed to have lost 40 family members.
But he emerged as the hardline regime's chief ideologue and was accused of orchestrating its sweeping execution policies.
Public trials at the tribunal are expected in 2008.