Khmer Rouge Officer Describes Torture.

Khmer Rouge Officer Describes Torture

Phnom Penh. The former Khmer Rouge prison chief told Cambodia's UN-backed war crimes court on Monday that some inmates had blood completely drained from their bodies or were used for medical experiments.

Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, was answering judges' questions about conditions at Tuol Sleng prison, where he supervised the torture and extermination of up to 15,000 people.

"First, live prisoners were used for surgical study and training; second, blood drawing was also done," Duch told the court.

The testimony represented a new admission of guilt for Duch, who previously said he knew nothing of blood draining.

In the morning of one of the most dramatic days so far in his crimes against humanity trial, Duch at one point became visibly distraught while talking about which prisoners were tortured. Judges gave him some time to compose himself.

Duch also told the court that Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot knew prisoners' confessions, usually extracted through torture, were false.

"Pol Pot, at one point, did not even believe the confessions were of true information," Duch said.

Duch added that he also did not believe most confessions and told the court how he was summoned by his superior, Son Sen, who was then the defense minister, and asked why his staff had not found any information about the CIA's agenda.

"It was required for us to seek out CIA agents," he said. "As a result, there were many CIA agents in the confessions."

Duch also sought to demonstrate he showed compassion for some of the doomed inmates at Tuol Sleng. He told the court he had not approved torture through electrocution of genitals and became "very angry" when he learned a male interrogator had sexually abused a female inmate.

He also said he disobeyed an order by "Brother Number Two," Nuon Chea, to poison several inmates, filling capsules with headache medicine instead.

"If they died then they would have died under my own act, giving them the poison," Duch said. "That's why I tried not to be involved in the killing of those people directly."

Earlier in his trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Duch accepted responsibility for his role in the 1975 to 1979 communist regime and begged forgiveness from its victims.

Agence France-Presse

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