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Khieu Samphan Halts Translation Request

Lawyers for jailed Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan on Wednesday suspended their request for a translation of thousands of documents into French, paving the way for the final pre-trial detention of five of the regime's leaders.

Lawyers asked the tribunal to schedule Khieu Samphan's hearing Oct. 23, three days after a date recommended by the Pre-Trial Chamber of the tribunal. Lawyers had asked that 16,000 pages of court documents be translated into French before a hearing was held.

"If they do not accept, I will make all efforts to have at least one lawyer assist in the hearing," said Sar Sovan, Khieu Samphan's Cambodian lawyer.

Khieu Samphan, 76, the nominal head of the regime, is facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Tribunal officials have been translating the documents since April, when Khieu Samphan appeared before pre-trial judges. At the time, French lawyer Jacques Verges said he would be unable to defend his client without translations.

Sar Sovan said Thursday he and Verges would not be in the country Oct. 20.