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Two More Khmer Rouge Leaders Arrested, Charged for Atrocity Crimes

To listen to Mean Veasna's report, .

Two of Cambodia's top Khmer Rouge leaders, Ieng Sary and wife Ieng Thirith, were arrested early Monday morning in Phnom Penh and formally charged with atrocity crimes.

The Khmer Rouge tribunal charged Ieng Sary, 78, with war crimes and crimes against humanity and Ieng Thirith, 75, with crimes against humanity.

Ieng Sary, a French-educated communist and anti-colonialist, was one of the most public of Khmer Rouge figures, acting as the foreign minister and meeting foreign dignitaries.

Ieng Thirith, a student of English literature, was the minister of social affairs under the regime.

There are now a total of four former leaders in tribunal detention awaiting trial, including chief ideologue Nuon Chea and Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Khek Iev, aliased Duch.

Still free is Khieu Samphan, the nominal head of the regime, who is widely expected to be arrested and charged.

About 100 armed Interior Ministry and tribunal police surrounded the Ieng's Phnom Penh villa early Monday morning, and the two were taken in a smoke-glassed SUV to the tribunal court building on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, where they were charged and are being held. Ieng Sary's Cambodian attorney, Ang Udom, said the courts will decide by Wednesday whether the former leader will be released ahead of their trials.

Ieng Sary was born into a Khmer Kampuchea Krom family in today's southern Vietnam, and studied at a French school in Phnom Penh, where he met Saloth Sar, the man who would become Pol Pot. The two studied in France, where they were members of the French Communist Party. In 1953, Ieng Sary married Khieu Thirith, sister of the first wife of Pol Pot, in Paris.

Ieng Thirith was in charge of a revolutionary radio station in Hanoi while the Khmer Rouge vied for power. When the regime took over Cambodia, she was put in control of schools and clinics.