Ex-Khmer Rouge commander jailed for backpacker murders seeks pardon

Jan 25, 2010, 3:20 GMT
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Phnom Penh - A former Khmer Rouge commander jailed for the killings of three Western backpackers in 1994 is to seek a royal pardon on the grounds of ill health, local media reported Monday.
Chhouk Rin, who was jailed for life 10 years ago for his role in the killings, is reportedly suffering from AIDS, malaria and liver disease.
'I will submit a document requesting the king pardon him before the [November] Water Festival this year,' his lawyer Puth Theavy told the Phnom Penh Post newspaper.
Chhouk Rin's wife said her husband is in poor health, and called on the government to assist in his release.
'Since my husband was arrested and imprisoned [in 2005], looking after my family has become increasingly difficult,' she told the newspaper.
Chhouk Rin was convicted for his role in the murders as were the provincial Khmer Rouge commander Sam Bith, who has died in jail, and Sam Bith's deputy Nuon Paet.
Under Cambodian law Chhouk Rin must serve 20 years of his life sentence before he can be considered for a pardon. The 56-year-old was convicted in absentia in 2000 and only arrested and jailed in late 2005, so to date has served just five years.
Ten Cambodians died when Chhouk Rin's forces attacked a train in southern Cambodia in 1994.
The three Westerners - Australian citizen David Wilson, Frenchman Jean-Michel Braquet, and Briton Mark Slater - were abducted and held at a Khmer Rouge mountain stronghold. They were killed after two months when a ransom payment fell through.

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