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Pol Pot Nephew Recounts His Own Fears of the Regime

Incense stick holders stand at the grave of late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot in Anlong Veng, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold, about 305 kilometers (190 miles) north of Phnom Penh, Cambodia (2008 file photo).

As leader of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot showed no favoritism toward any of his family and no one was safe from the regime’s terror, his nephew told the UN-backed tribunal Monday.

Saloth Ban, 67, told the court in testimony that he had lived in fear of the “terrifying” regime as secretary general of its foreign ministry, and so had the minister, Ieng Sary, a man now on trial for atrocity crimes.

“I was worried about danger to me and to my family, my parents,” he said. “I had such fear, and I think others had bigger fear than me.”

Saloth Ban is testifying in the atrocity trial of Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, who all three stand accused of crimes that include genocide, for their leadership of the Khmer Rouge.

Pol Pot was an absolutist, Saloth Ban said, and no one was safe in his regime. Pol Pot’s oldest sister-in-law, Khieu Thirath, was killed in a Khmer Rouge security center, he added.