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Ieng Sary’s Condition in Hospital Worsening, Lawyer Says

In this photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Ieng Sary, the Khmer Rouge's former foreign minister, listens to testimony being given during his trial at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, file photo.
PHNOM PENH - Jailed Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary is in the hospital in serious condition, his lawyers said Wednesday, renewing fears that he and two other aging defendants may not see their atrocity crimes trial through to the end.

Ieng Sary, 87, the former foreign affairs minister of the regime, was sent sent to the hospital Monday and has seen his health degenerate in recent days, defense lawyer Ang Udom told VOA Khmer.

He is unable to eat without vomiting and will be reduced to a liquid diet, Ang Udom said.

“His situation seems to have degenerated,” he said.

International defense lawyer Micheal Karnavas told VOA Khmer by e-mail that Ieng Sary remains in “guarded condition.”

Tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the court is awaiting an official diagnosis from the hospital.

Ieng Sary’s hospitalization raises new concerns about the health of all three defendants, including former ideologue Nuon Chea and former head of state Khieu Samphan. A fourth, Ieng Thirith, has already been released on house arrest, found mentally incompetent to stand trial.

The UN-backed court is meanwhile struggling with funding and saw its entire translation section walkout earlier this week to demand salaries that have gone unpaid since December.