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Families Insist, Ta Mok Should Be Medically Treated Abroad

Family members of a former Khmer Rouge commander, who is being cared for by the Cambodian government, urge to have him be treated abroad, alleging that in Phnom Penh, they do not have enough rights to go in and visit him at the hospital.

Eighty-two-year old Ta Mok was former Khmer Rouge commander, who fought fiercely with the Phnom Penh forces in Anlong Veng town along the Cambodian-Thai border. In 1999, he was captured by the Cambodian forces, and was detained in a military prison since then.

Ta Mok was being admitted and treated at the Preah Ket Mealea hospital in Phnom Penh, for what is believed to be a possible serious illness.

Ms. Ven Dara who alleges that she is his niece and opposition Sam Rainsy party's (SRP) regional president in Pailin town told VOA Wednesday that she would like for her uncle to be treated abroad, and she thinks her uncle would like the same thing since he has always been treated in Thailand. She says that she appeals to the government to find good doctors to treat him and to provide safety for him, and for many family members to visit him, as an encouragement. She says that this might secure his health until the tribunal begins, and if he would to die, then she will be satisfied, and the real killers would be found.

Ta Mok's granddaughter Kheng Moch would also like for her grandfather to get treatment abroad, in Bangkok, but that Preah Ket Mealea hospital has also been provided good medical care for him too. She says that the only thing is that relatives have difficulty getting in to visit him.

Preah Ket Mealea president Ly Sovan alleges that his hospital does not stop To Mok's relatives from visiting him, but that he is afraid the visitors might poison him. He himself bought foods for Ta Mok, but this patient cannot eat much, due to possible fear about the tribunal, and that he, Mr. Ly thinks that his hospital gives Ta Mok more freedom than at Tuol Sleng prison.

Document Center of Cambodia director Yuk Chhang says that he has no objection to Ta Mok being treated in Cambodia or abroad, and that it is the government and the Cambodian prosecutors duty to solve this problem. He says that the government should do something to get the trust of the people, allowing Ta Mok's relatives to visit him, and to have independent doctors treating him, and human rights officials to follow his health.

Military court president Ney Thol declines comments. Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith says that only the international court can decide this issue. He says that, how can the government find good physicians to treat Ta Mok when the Cambodian people themselves cannot find ones?