While the Cambodian population has moved on from its terrible days of 1970s, the government has established a Genocide Museum to remind everyone of the horrific Pol Pot regime that is estimated to have killed nearly 2 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979. On a visit to Phnom Penh for the Indo-ASEAN and East Asia Summits, some of us on the Prime Minister’s entourage found time to go and visit the infamous Security Prison-21 now better known as S-21. Here’s a brief report.
From 1975 to 1979, an estimated 17,000 people were imprisoned at Tuol Sleng At any one time, the prison held between 1,000–1,500 prisoners. They were repeatedly tortured and coerced into naming family members and close associates, who were in turn arrested, tortured and killed. In the early months of S-21’s existence, most of the victims were from the previous regime and included soldiers, government officials, as well as academics, doctors, teachers, students, factory workers, monks, engineers, etc. Later, the party leadership’s paranoia turned on its own ranks and purges throughout the country saw thousands of party activists and their families brought to Tuol Sleng and murdered.
|The skulls: reminder of the horrific past|
|Prisoners were tied to beds with these instruments; a skull displayed at the Museum|
|The Genocide Museum has several pixs of victims|
|The torture chambers|
|One of the survivors, now 82, sells a book based on his own memories at this infamous torture centre|
|Me at Genocide Museum|