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Two Khmer Rouge leaders sentenced to life in prison

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Two Khmer Rouge leaders sentenced to life in prison | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Pnomh Penh Post

A UN-backed court has found two leaders of Cambodia’s murderous Khmer Rouge regime guilty of genocide. The judgement comes four decades after the regime which oversaw what became known as the Killing Fields, was overthrown.

Most of the victims of the 1975-79 regime died of starvation, torture, exhaustion or disease in labour camps. Others were simply bludgeoned to death during mass executions, many in areas just out of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

Up to 2.2 million people, a quarter of Cambodia’s population at the time, died during the four year rule of the Khmer Rouge.

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), said Khmer Rouge “Brother Number Two”, 92 year old Nuon Chea and former President 87 year old Khieu Samphan were guilty of genocide against the Cham Muslim minority and Vietnamese people, and of crimes against humanity. The pair have been sentenced to life in prison.

They were already serving life sentences for 2014 convictions for crimes against humanity, in connection with the forced evacuation of Phnom Penh after the Khmer Rouge took power under their notorious leader Pol Pot in 1975.

There had been debate for years among legal experts at to whether the killings by the Khmer Rouge constituted genocide, as the vast majority of victims were fellow Cambodians.

The court found that during their rule, the Khmer Rouge’s policy was to target Cham and Vietnamese people to create “an atheistic and homogenous society without class divisions”, Judge Nil Nonn said in the verdict.

Hundreds of Vietnamese civilians and soldiers were also killed at the infamous S-21 interrogation centre, at a converted Phnom Penh school called Tuol Sleng, after being tortured to admit being spies. Tuol Sleng remains a gruesome tourist attraction and testament to the systematic torture and execution of those who ended up there during the brutal regime.

“The fate of all these prisoners was a foregone conclusion as they were all ultimately subject to execution.”

Both Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea appeared for the court session but Nuon Chea was excused after 40 minutes complaining of back pain. He continued to follow the proceedings from his cell.

Khieu Samphan, looking frail and gaunt. He stood in the dock with the help of prison guards when Nil Nonn read the verdict.

The court, a hybrid UN and Cambodian tribunal, was set up in 2005 to bring to justice “those most responsible” for the deaths under the Khmer Rouge. The court has convicted only three people.

Its first conviction was in 2010 when it sentenced Kaing Guek Eav, alias “Duch”, head of S-21 where as many as 14,000 people were tortured and executed, to life in prison.

Two other Khmer Rouge leaders, Ta Mok and Ieng Sary, were facing charges but died before the case was concluded. Pol Pot died in 1998.

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Southeast Asia

Die! Die! Korean Air ‘nut rage’ heiress assaults husband in video

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Die! Die! Korean Air ‘nut rage’ heiress assaults husband in video | The Thaiger

by The Korea Herald – Asia News Network

A video clip showing a woman who appears to be Cho Hyun-ah, formerly Korean Air vice-president, shouting at her husband, and photos showing his injuries has been revealed.

In the video, the woman shouts “Die! Die!” at her husband, surnamed Park, who filed for divorce last year citing physical and verbal abuse against him and their twin sons.

Photos released along with the video show injuries to the man’s neck – apparently strangle marks.

The photos and video footage, which aired on KBS (Korean Broadcasting System), were submitted to the court as evidence by Park, who filed a complaint against Cho for assault and other charges on Tuesday.

Cho said Park was making false accusations to gain the upper hand in their divorce proceedings. She also accused him of destroying their marriage with his negligence of their children and addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Read the rest of this story HERE.

Read more about the original ‘nut rage’ incident HERE.

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Southeast Asia

Students are dropping out along Cambodia’s border with Thailand

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Students are dropping out along Cambodia’s border with Thailand | The Thaiger

by VOA

A Cambodian official has reported that about 23% of children in three provinces along the border with Thailand have stopped attending school.

The Cambodian Education Minister Hangchuon Naron was speaking about the student dropout rate. He said that the rate in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Oddor Meanchey provinces was much higher than in other areas, where rates are 18 to 19 percent.

The education minister blamed poverty and parents who move to Thailand for work as the main reasons for the problem.

Cambodia’s education ministry has begun training teachers to advise students to stay in school, while letting them choose their own study subjects. Teachers are also to advise students whose parents work abroad about the importance of education.

“So if teachers advise the students (to stay in school) that will help them to make the right decision. They could explain to those students that they need to pursue their studies successfully and then find local jobs as well.”

But critics have expressed concern about the education ministry’s plan.

President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Ouk Chay Vy, says the plan fails to deal with the issues that cause students to drop out of school in the first place.

She says those reasons are poverty resulting from unemployment and a lack of land for farming. She noted that, in Cambodia, many students stop going to school because they need to work to support their families.

Ouk Chay Vy said a better plan would be for the government to try to increase the number of jobs so that citizens could have better living conditions.

“If the government could give them help, it would still not be enough,” she added.

Suon Sinuon is a farmer from Banteay Meanchey. She said that three of her children dropped out of school while they were in the sixth and ninth grades. They went to Thailand to work and help support the family.

She said that the children did not want to stop going to school, but had no other choice because of the family’s needs.

“Others who have enough money don’t let their children migrate, but me, I am so poor that I had to let them go work in Thailand.”

Radio Free Asia reported this story. Jonathan Evans adapted the report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. VOA partners with The Thaiger for weekend radio news.

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Chiang Mai

Better analysis needed to track down the source of new chemicals in illicit drugs

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Better analysis needed to track down the source of new chemicals in illicit drugs | The Thaiger

The Office of Narcotics Control Board has been training personnel in drug analysis to handle new illicit substances coming onto the streets.

A Chinese analysis lab has recently discovered 230 new psychotropic substances which are making their way into recreational drugs and other foods.

China has subsequently banned several beverages and sweets that contain these new illegal substances.

Thailand’s Justice Minister Prajin Juntong says that better analysis was key in drug prevention and suppression, as it helped identify the sources of the precursor chemicals. Each source used different formulae or ingredients, he said.

“New chemicals that were not used in narcotics before, and not listed in official databases, are now being used. So each confiscated batch will no longer be destroyed right away but be analysed first.”

“Lab tests are time-consuming and require new technology to ensure tests can keep up with the drug trade. This information was shared globally.”

He reported that  Thailand has been cooperating with Australia, China and Singapore and other ASEAN countries in sharing knowledge and analysis techniques.

“Thailand usually serves as a transit country for narcotic smuggling to a third country.”

China’s National Narcotics Control Commission analyst Liu Peipei says her agency recently found 230 new psychoactive substances that could yield “highs”, but had different ingredients from heroin, methamphetamine and other common drugs.

“Recently China has banned the sale of a beverage contaminated with a narcotic that may be harmful to consumers. We also found THC (the active chemical in cannabis) in chocolate and jelly,” she said.

SOURCE: The Nation

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