Head of Khmer Rouge torture prison, Comrade Duch, dies aged 77

Comrade Duch, the head of the Khmer Rouge and the person who ran Cambodia's notorious S-21 prison during the country's genocide, died on Wednesday, a spokesman for the tribunal that convicted him of war crimes in 2010 said.

Duch, 77, whose given name was Kaing Guek Eav, was the first Khmer Rouge commander convicted of crimes against humanity, before being sentenced in 2012.

Appeal rejected

The former leader of the Khmer Rouge appealed against his conviction but a UN-backed tribunal rejected his suggestion that he was a junior official merely following orders.

He died while serving a life sentence.

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"Duch died this morning at 00:52 a.m. (1752 GMT on Tuesday), on September 2 at Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital. Details of what he died of, I can't tell," Khmer Rouge tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said.

Media reports suggested on Monday the former S-21 prison chief had been hospitalized after falling seriously ill in Kandal provincial prison.

jsi/aw (AFP, Reuters)