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Cambodian 'Killing Fields' Survivor Dith Pran Dies


Cambodian-born journalist Dith Pran, whose tale of enslavement, torture and escape helped bring public attention to the Khmer Rouge "killing fields" of the 1970s, has died of cancer in the U.S. state of New Jersey. He was 65-years-old.

Dith's death Sunday was confirmed by his friend and former colleague at the New York Times, Sydney Schanberg.

Dith worked with Schanberg in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, when it was taken over in 1975 by Communist forces.

Schanberg helped Dith's family escape, but Dith became a prisoner of the Khmer Rouge. He escaped after 4.5 years of hard labor, eventually settling in the United States and becoming a photographer for the Times.

He founded the Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Network, which educated people about the Khmer Rouge regime.

Schanberg wrote about Dith's life and ordeal in an article and book that inspired the Oscar-winning film The Killing Fields.

Schanberg said the two men shared a mission to tell the world about events in Cambodia during a time attention was more focused on the war in neighboring Vietnam.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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