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Center Screens Duch Film for Former Khmer Rouge

The Documentation Center of Cambodian has begun a series of film screenings across former Khmer Rouge strongholds to help explain the recent UN-backed tribunal verdict for Kaing Kek Iev, or Duch.

The screenings have drawn former soldiers of the regime, some who believe the commuted sentence of 19 years of Duch was “reasonable,” while others believe he should have received life in prison, said Chhang Youk, director of the center.

The documentary explains Duch's role as director of Tuol Sleng prison, known to the Khmer Rouge as S-21, where more than 12,000 people were tortured and sent to their deaths.

A recent screening, in Battambang province's Samlot district, took place at a church five minutes from Duch's former home, where he was arrested in 1999.

Duch's sister still lives in the area, but she did not attend the screening.

“She is angry with what happened to her brother,” Chhang Youk said. She feels partly responsible for his arrest and is angry “it is only he who has been tried,” he said.

Still, more than a hundred former Khmer Rouge soldiers did attend in Samlot, a mountainous area that served the Khmer Rouge since an initial revolt over taxes there sparked the movement, mostly of peasants.