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Ieng Sary's Lawyer Requests House Arrest

The lawyer for jailed Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary said Tuesday he wants his client released from a tribunal detention facility and placed under house arrest ahead of any atrocity crimes trial.

Former foreign minister Ieng Sary, who is 78 and suffers from heart problems, was arrested in November and charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"It would be OK if this were a normal illness such as backache, fever, headache, dizziness," said lawyer Ang Udom. "But this is a critical illness. You know, it is heart disease. It has been operated on."

Hisham Moussar, tribunal monitor for the rights group Adhoc, said Tuesday such a release could allow a suspect to cast his influence on evidence or witnesses.

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said Tuesday the pre-trial judges will have a chance to decide on pre-trial release, which, if granted, would allow Ieng Sary to stay at his home in Phnom Penh ahead of a trial.