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Ieng Thirith to Remain in Detention: Tribunal

The pre-trial chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal ruled Wednesday it would not grant bail to Ieng Thirith, the former social affairs minister of the regime.

Her release could jeopardize evidence and lead to the threats of witnesses, Judge Prak Kimsan said in delivering the decision.

Ieng Thirith, 76, was arrested in November 2007 and charged by the tribunal with crimes against humanity.

"The decision of the co-investigating judge to detain the accused is valid," Prak Kimsan said. "The provisional detention is still necessary."

Co-investigating judges decided to keep Ieng Thirith in detention because they were worried that Ieng Thirith could intimidate victims or make compromises with former co-conspirators.

She was being held also to protect evidence, victims and her own security, and to guarantee she would be present during the trial, judges ruled.

As social affairs minister, Ieng Thirith held a position of high responsibility and conducted regular political meetings with high-ranking cadre, the five-judge panel ruled.

Phat Pouv Seang, co-defense for Ieng Thirith, told reporters after the hearing the decision was "unfair" and her healthcare was not adequate.

"The pre-trial chamber based [its decision] on the criminality of Ieng Thirith, but this kind of argument would be explained in the trial stage," he said.

Prak Kimsan said Wednesday the decision could not be appealed.