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Survivor Describes Torture Methods of Khmer Rouge

Audey Elliot of Adelaide, Australia, right, 91, touches a painting depicting Khmer Rouge torture as she tours in the former Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison now known as the Tuol Sleng genocide museum in Phnom Penh, file photo.

A witness at the Khmer Rouge tribunal gave gruesome testimony at the UN-backed court on Monday, describing in detail the torture methods used by regime cadre at a security center in Takeo province.

The witness, Keo Chan Dara, was one of the prisoners at the Kraing Tachan security center, where an estimated 15,000 people were killed. His graphic testimony is part of the second and final trial phase for regime leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.

In one description, Keo Chan Dara said Khmer Rouge cadre brought three women, naked, before a dozen other prisons, made them sit on the ground, wounded their faces—nose, ears, cheeks, lips—with pliers, then poured acid into the wounds. When the women fainted, they were brought around with water.

One of the women was unable to answer questions, so she was hung on a hook, through her throat and mouth. A soldier cut her body open and removed her heart, liver and gall bladder, Keo Chan Dara told the court. “One of them asked that the liver be fried and the gall bladder kept for him.”

Keo Chan Dara described other crimes by Khmer Rouge soldiers, including the murder of a mother, her baby and her three-year-old child. He said he was forced to bury bodies in mass graves. Sometimes, up to 50 people a day were killed at the site, he said.

He spent nearly 30 days at the prison, before the Khmer Rouge were ousted from power in Phnom Penh and beyond by Vietnamese forces.