PHNOM PENH - The defense team of jailed Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary is seeking his release on bail, saying his health has deteriorated while he has been in the custody of the UN-backed court.
The request follows an 11-day hospital stint earlier this month for Ieng Sary, 86, and the release of his wife, Ieng Thirith, who was found mentally unfit to stand trial last week.
The Trial Chamber of the court will hear testimony from two medical experts on Friday over Ieng Sary’s condition.
Ieng Sary is currently on trial at the court for atrocity crimes, alongside Nuon Chea, the regime’s chief ideologue, and Khieu Samphan, its nominal head of state.
“He is getting worse,” Ieng Sary’s attorney, Ang Udom, told VOA Khmer Thursday. “We are worried that he can’t join the hearings, and we are waiting for the evaluation of the doctors tomorrow.”
Chhang Youk, head of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said the move was not unexpected, as Ieng Sary’s health has visibly deteriorated since his 2007 arrest. “He is old, and we can see his appearance,” he said.
Some survivors of the regime were angered at the release of Ieng Thirith on Sunday. The prospect of her husband’s release from custody has raised concerns anew.
“I have been worried since the beginning,” said Chum Mey, who survived the Khmer Rouge torture center at Tuol Sleng. “I think that after Ieng Thirith and Ieng Sary will be Nuon Chea.”