Three Khmer Rouge leaders seek release

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Three men charged with genocide in Cambodia's Khmer Rouge dictatorship of the 1970s asked a war crimes tribunal Monday to free them.

Lawyers for Nuon Chea, "Brother No. 2" under Pol Pot, head of state Khieu Samphan and social action minister leng Thirith said the court did not have the right to keep them detained before their trial, which is expected to begin in six months, The Phnom Penh Post reported.


The attorneys said the defendants, charged with the genocide of 2 million Cambodians in the 1970s, had not been brought to trial soon enough after being indicted.

But prosecutors asserted the detention was lawful and public order could be at risk if they are released.

"I only have one suggestion: Please abide by the law," said Khieu Samphan.

Former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary was the only defendant not present, citing frail health.

Presiding judge Nil Nonn said the court would rule on the request within weeks.

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