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Cambodia court rejects ex-Khmer Rouge leader release request

[JURIST] The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] has rejected [court order, in French, PDF] a release request by former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan [JURIST news archive]. Samphan is charged with crimes against humanity for his involvement in the regime's alleged genocide of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians [PPU backgrounder] who died between 1975 and 1979. He had argued that the court lacked sufficient evidence against him to continue his year-long detention [JURIST report]. In a ruling dated October 28 but only just released the court disagreed, holding that "reasonable grounds" for believing he was involved in the crimes, combined with the severity of the charges and the risk to public safety his release would pose, justify his continued custody. AFP has more.

Last July, a lawyer representing Samphan resigned [press release, PDF; JURIST report], citing health reasons. Samphan himself had been hospitalized for a stroke [JURIST report] in June. The fifth senior Khmer Rouge [JURIST news archive] leader to be detained by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website], he was initially arrested [JURIST report] in November 2007 upon release from the hospital where he was receiving treatment after having suffered an earlier stroke [NYT report].

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