S-21 Photographer to Join KPP

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Nhem En during his testimony at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. ECCC

A former photographer from the notorious Khmer Rouge prison known as S-21 has announced he is joining the Khmer Power Party (KPP) in the hope he will run in the election in Siem Reap province.
 
Nhem En, a former provincial leader for the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) in Oddar Meanchey province, told Khmer Times yesterday that his motivation to join the KPP was due to its political platform, which he believed was in the national interest.
 
“Since I left the CNRP, I had not joined any party. No party has recognized me yet,” he said.
 
“My position and salary in the Interior Ministry have been removed.”
 
Mr. En was sacked by the CNRP last December for failing to show up to work. He said that as a normal citizen he was entitled to join any party he wished, adding that he felt no animosity toward the CNRP.
 
He said his new appointment will be announced once party president Sourn Serey Ratha returns from overseas today.
 
“I could be appointed as a political candidate for Siem Reap province, and I could stand as a first ranking candidate in the list,” he said.
 
The 56-year-old confirmed that he wanted to be a politician to serve the people and the nation.  
 
KPP spokesman Tep Vireak said Mr. En was perfectly within his rights to join the party.
 
“In a democratic society, people have rights to join any political party which they love,” he said.
 
Mr. Vireak said he was unaware what position Mr. En will fill within the party.
 
 “I have not seen any decision. I wait for my leader to come back this Friday,” he said, adding that since his party formed, its popularity has increased due to what he described as its correct platform.  
 
In 1976, Mr. En was sent by the Khmer Rouge to study photography in Shanghai, China. After he returned, Mr. Nhem was given a job as staff photographer in the Tuol Sleng interrogation center in central Phnom Penh, which was then known as S-21 by the Khmer Rouge.
 
He became deputy governor in Anlong Veng district in 2005, joining the district council in 2009. In 2011, he became deputy governor of the district before becoming an official working in the Oddar Meanchey provincial cabinet in 2014.  
 
The Khmer Power party was formed in 2010 by Cambodian-American Sourn Serey Ratha, but was not officially registered until March last year.

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