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Friday, April 30, 2010

Cambodia court rejects bail for K.Rouge leaders

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia's UN-backed genocide court on Friday denied bail for three former Khmer Rouge leaders, saying they may commit serious crimes and their detention was necessary to prevent trial tampering.

Judges rejected appeals from former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, foreign minister Ieng Sary and his wife, minister of social affairs Ieng Thirith, who all asked for release ahead of their trial expected next year.

The three leaders, who have been charged with genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, murder, torture and religious persecution, appealed against their detention late last year and earlier this year.

"The Pre-Trial Chamber of the (tribunal) dismissed appeals lodged by the charged persons," a statement from the court said.

The tribunal said detention of the ageing suspects "remains a necessary measure" to prevent the suspects from fleeing the trial and to ensure their security.

Khieu Samphan, 78, Ieng Sary, 84, and Ieng Thirith, 78, were arrested in November 2007 over their roles in the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge government, and have appealed annually for release from detention at the court.

The three leaders are being held along with the Khmer Rouge former "Brother Number Two" ideologue Nuon Chea and the regime's main prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch.

Up to two million people were executed or died of starvation, disease and overwork as the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge movement emptied cities and enslaved the population on collective farms in its bid to create a communist utopia.

Final arguments in the court's first trial, of Duch, ended in November and a verdict is expected later this year.

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