Phnom Penh – A former Khmer Rouge official photographer has put on sale for 1.5 million dollars what he claims to be Pol Pot’s clothes, sandals and toilet, along with thousands of photographs and other artifacts he collected during the genocidal regime’s 1975-79 rule. “I will sell Pol Pot’s sandals, toilet, his uniform and cap, thousands of photographs and the two cameras I used during the Khmer Rouge period,” said Nhem En, who was recruited to take photographs of detainees when they arrived at Tuol Sleng torture prison in Phnom Penh.
“I am asking for 1.5 million dollars, but the price is negotiable,” he added. Nhem En said he would use the money to establish a Khmer Rouge museum in Anlong Veng, a small town near the Thai border where the Maoist group hid in a jungle fortress until it disbanded in 1998. “I am selling these items, but I have others that will be housed in the museum,” he said. “I have already asked for donations for this museum from the US, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, South Korea and Thailand, but none have provided funding.”His appeal came as the trial of the former head of Tuol Sleng prison resumed before Cambodia’s UN-backed war crimes tribunal.
Kaing Guek Euv, known by his revolutionary alias Duch, faces charges of crimes against humanity, torture, premeditated murder and breaches of the Geneva Conventions, allegedly committed at the school-turned-prison, where at least 15,000 men, women and children were imprisoned and tortured before being murdered in the “killing fields” on the outskirts of the capital. Nhem En said the millions of dollars in international donor funding spent on bringing Duch and four other Khmer Rouge leaders to trial would be better invested in his museum.
“Nobody in the Cambodian government supports my museum plan, so it will need a great deal of international funding to be established,” he said. In April, Nhem En offered to sell Pol Pot’s shoes and toilet for 500,000 dollars and said he would keep the other items to be housed in the museum. Up to 2 million people died during through execution, starvation or overwork during the Khmer Rouge’s rule
First published in Earth Times