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Former Khmer Rouge Minister’s Health Failing in Thailand

Former Social Affairs Minister Ieng Thirith, center, Ieng Sary's wife, cries during the cremation ceremony of his husband at his home of a former stronghold of Malai, file photo.
Ieng Thirith, the aging former social affairs minister for the Khmer Rouge who was found mentally unfit to stand trial in 2012, is currently unable to eat and has been hospitalized in Thailand since March, a family member said Thursday.

The 82-year-old is being nourished through a feeding tube and is connected to an oxygen tank, her son, Ieng Vuth, said. “She has water in her lungs and kidneys,” he said. “She has blood sliding on her teeth, and her heart does not beat normally.”

Ieng Thirith was one of four original Khmer Rouge leaders arrested and expected to face trial for atrocity crimes at the UN-backed tribunal.

After her release, her husband, Ieng Sary, the former foreign minister of the regime, died in tribunal custody, renewing fears that many Khmer Rouge leaders will never see a courtroom to answer for their crimes.

Her lawyer, Phat Pouv Seang, confirmed her hospitalization and said she is “still getting worse.”