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Duch Concedes to Beating Prisoners

The former Khmer Rouge prison chief known as Duch on Tuesday confessed to beating a prisoner himself, following testimony from a former guard at his Tuol Sleng prison Monday.

Duch, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, told the UN-backed court he did not deny the testimony of Saom Met, who told judges he had seen Duch beating a prisoner with a rattan stick.

Duch said he “risked a heavy crime” by his admission, but said, “I do not hesitate at all, and I recognize all my crimes.”

Duch is charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and murder for his role as the administrator of the notorious prison, where prosecutors say 12,380 people were sent to their deaths.

He has admitted to sending people to their deaths, but in the past has sought not to implicate himself in murder by his own hands.

Duch said Monday he had abused the prisoner, but not seriously, and said the “most serious” crimes for him had been passing communist doctrine to his staff the prison, known the Khmer Rouge as S-21.

“In my capacity as director of S-21, the crime that seems the most serious for me is the policy lectures I gave to them,” he said. “For instance, [that] those where were arrested by the party must be considered enemies.”

If interrogators did not recognize the inmates as enemies, they would not have gotten “confessions” from them, he said.

“This is the most serious crime, that I am responsible for more than 10,000 lives,” he said.

The former guard, Saom Met, told the court Tuesday the rule on torture as Tuol Sleng wsa to exact answers from prisoners, even if it meant torturing them to death.