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Ieng Thirith
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Politician
    (1932- )
    Born in Battambang Province, Cambodia
    Born Khieu Thirith
    Former sister-in-law of Pol Pot
    Member of the Khmer Rouge regime
    Founded an English private school after working as a professor (1960)
    De facto ‘first lady’ of the Khmer Rouge
    Minister of Social Affairs and Action and Head of Democratic Kampuchea's Red Cross Society (October 9, 1975-1979)
    Arrested along with her husband by the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia (November 12, 2007)
    Convicted of involvement in the Cambodian genocide
    Ruled mentally unfit to stand trial due to Alzheimer’s disease (November 17, 2011)
    Decision reversed in order to see how mentally unfit she is to stand trial (December 13, 2011)
    She, her sister, and their respective husbands were known as Cambodia’s ‘Gang of Four’.
    She did nothing to alleviate the suffering of Cambodians even though she knew tens and thousands of them were dying of starvation and disease.
    Medical workers who cared for her have described her as ‘bad tempered’.
    They said that she even spoke to herself sometimes, usually talking about her past.
    Her friends and relatives are in power in the areas where she used to live, making it difficult for survivors of the Khmer Rouge from there to testify against her.
    She looked nervous and volatile during pretrial hearings.
    She shouted to the judges not to accuse her of murder, or else they’ll be ‘cursed to the seventh level of hell’. (February 2009)
    Her father left her family to live in Battambang with a Cambodian princess during World War II.
    She was the first Cambodian to obtain a degree in English Literature.
    Like Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, she practically broke the glass ceiling for women in terms of genocide.

Credit: Big Lenny


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