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Tribunal Upholds Khieu Samphan Detention

Khmer Rouge tribunal judges on Monday denied a new request for the temporary release of Khieu Samphan, whose pre-trial detention hearing has been delayed by a defense request to have thousands of documents translated into French.

Khieu Samphan's defense team appealed last year to end provisional detention of the former nominal head of the regime, who was arrested in November 2007 and faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. But the April hearing was postponed by the courts' failure to fulfill a request for the translation of some 60,000 documents from Khmer into French.

The lawyers, Jacques Verges and Sar Savan, then filed an urgent supplemental application Dec. 4 requesting again their client's release, claiming Khieu Samphan, 77, was being "held arbitrarily," as proceedings face continued delays.

"The application is inadmissible," said Prak Kimsan, president of the Pre-Trial Chamber, in a Dec. 24 decision.

Defense lawyers could not be reached for comment Monday.

The tribunal, which was established in 2006 after years of negotiationbetween Cambodia and the UN, has yet to try one of the five formerleaders of the regime it has in custody. The first trial, of prisonchief Kaing Kek Iev, is expected to begin in the first quarter of2009.