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U.S. ambassador praises former Khmer Rouge photographer for apologizing

U.S. ambassador praises former Khmer Rouge photographer for apologizing

The U.S. ambassador to Cambodia shook hands with the former Khmer Rouge chief photographer Thursday, and praised him for apologizing for his role in the regime that caused nearly 2 million deaths in the 1970s.
Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli said at a news conference at the embassy that Nhem En has "set a good example for apologizing for his part in those atrocities."
"Contrast what he has done with the fact that no Khmer Rouge leader has ever stepped forward to admit guilt or accept blame for the regime's brutal crimes," said Mussomeli, who posed for pictures beside the American flag with Nhem En.
Nhem En photographed thousands of prisoners at the infamous Khmer Rouge S-21 prison, before they were locked up, tortured and executed.
He asked for forgiveness and offered his apology Thursday, two days after coming forward and saying he plans to set up a museum with pictures of the notorious regime's leaders.
"During that era, I was merely a cog in the (Khmer Rouge) machine," he said.
Historians estimate that more than 1.7 million Cambodians died of execution, starvation, overwork and inadequate medical care due to the extremist policies of the Khmer Rouge during the group's 1975-79 rule.
Haunting photos of the victims are the centerpiece of the former prison site, also known as Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh.


Updated : 2021-03-06 04:22 GMT+08:00