Former S-21 chief Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, has been hospitalised after falling ill while serving his lifetime sentence in Kandal provincial prison.
The 76-year-old inmate was hospitalised in Phnom Penh due to respiratory problems after his condition worsened on Saturday.
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia sentenced Mr Duch to life in prison after he was found guilty of committing crimes against humanity during one of Cambodia’s darkest times.
He was charged with persecution on political grounds, extermination, enslavement, imprisonment, torture and other inhuman acts committed while the Khmer Rouge ruled the country.
Mr Duch was also charged with breaching the 1949 Geneva Convention for the torture and killing of S-21 inmates.
At least 15,000 people were brought to S-21, where inmates were chained to beds, tortured into making false confessions and executed.
Be Tealeng, the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Prison deputy director-general, said Mr Duch was admitted to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship hospital in Phnom Penh.
“I received information yesterday that [Duch] has a serious condition and was sent to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship hospital,” Mr Tealeng said.
Ouch Sothea, the department’s deputy chief in charge of security, declined to detail Mr Duch’s admission to hospital, but noted that security is being provided.
Chat Sineang, Kandal provincial prison director, said Mr Duch’s health began to deteriorate on Saturday at about 4am. Due to his worsening condition, Mr Duch was transferred to hospital in Phnom Penh the day after.
“He has respiratory problems and diarrhoea,” Mr Sineang said.
Ngy Meng, Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital director, declined to comment on Mr Duch’s current condition.
Neth Peaktra, an ECCC spokesman, also declined to comment yesterday.
The ECCC has investigated five Khmer Rouge leaders, including Mr Duch. Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are also currently serving life sentences, while Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith died before they their proceedings concluded.