Cambodia Reading: Torture chief to give his testimony

by John Einar Sandvand on March 29, 2009

tuolslengTopics this week:

  • Tuol Sleng chief Duch to give his testimony
  • Ex-Khmer Rouge still dominates regions of Cambodia
  • A new generation of Cambodian journalists

Cambodia Reading: Every week or so I pick 3 articles which I have found to be particularly interesting and worth reading.

Three articles from this week’s reading:

Cambodian torture suspect recalled as kind teacher

The Khmer Rouge tribunal in Phnom Penh will start its first substantial hearings as Duch – the former head of the torture center Tuol Sleng – will give his testimony. This article give a pretty good background on this life.

An estimated 17.000 prisoners were tortured at Tuol Sleng during the Khmer Rouge years (1975 – 1979). All but a very few of them were later killed.

Read about one of the few survivors, Chum Mey, here. I also wrote a small post after the first day of the trial against Duch.

Ex-Khmer Rouge still dominate regions of Cambodia

A very interesting article by Associated Press from Anlong Veng in the north of Cambodia. Anlong Veng was Khmer Rouge’s latest stronghold and also were Pol Pot lived before he died.  In another article the same news agency describes how the city plans to invest in future “Khmer Rouge tourism”.

Another late stronghold was Pailin in the western part of Cambodia.  I visited that city in February and interviewed Pol Pot’s former secretary Kong Duong.

Students hack a new path

Cambodia is considered to be one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Power abuse by the elite is common and the poor and weak are often defenseless. Very often the abuse is not disclosed as many of the media organizations have close connections to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

This is only one reason why developing strong and independent media is extremely important for Cambodia. Good journalists are indeed needed in order to push forward democracy and transparency.

In this article young journalism students are interviewed. They all study at the Department of Media and Communications at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

The article is written by a friend of mine, Kounila Keo, who is also a journalism student herself. She publishes the blog Inside My Heart, which I recommend that you check out as well.

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