News / Asia

Artist Vann Nath, Khmer Rouge Survivor, Dies at 66

Paintings by human rights icon and artists Vann Nath depicting how torture devices were used hang on the walls of Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 2011.
Paintings by human rights icon and artists Vann Nath depicting how torture devices were used hang on the walls of Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 2011.

Cambodia's Vann Nath, one of only seven survivors of a vast and notorious Khmer Rouge torture center, died Monday at age 66.

The human rights icon and artist was hospitalized late last month after heart problems and has been in a coma for days. His son-in-law called his death "a big loss for the history of Cambodia."

Vann Nath was one of only a handful of people to emerge alive from Phnom Penh's infamous Tuol Sleng prison, where more than 12,000 people died in the 1970s under Khmer Rouge rule. He later became a leading advocate for victims of Khmer Rouge atrocities.

His widow, Kith Eng, blamed his lengthy illnesses, which included chronic kidney disease, on the torture suffered at Tuol Sleng. She told the Associated Press last month she believes her husband would have lived a long and happy life, but for the year spent at the hands of his captors.

Vann Nath's 1998 memoir - A Cambodian Prison Portrait: One Year in the Khmer Rouge's S-21 Prison - is the only written account by a survivor of the prison.

S-21 was later converted to a genocide museum, where many of Vann Nath's paintings depicting torture adorn the walls.

News of Vann Nath's death comes as an international tribunal prepares to begin the long-awaited trial of the four most-senior surviving Khmer Rouge leaders - all charged with atrocities during the group's 1975-1979 rule. The defendants, including the nominal Khmer Rouge head of state, 79-year-old Khieu Samphan, face charges of religious persecution, torture and genocide in the deaths of as many as 2 million people.

Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot died in 1998.

The tribunal also is deliberating an appeal by convicted war criminal Duch, the one-time chief of Tuol Sleng prison. Duch was convicted of war crimes and imprisoned earlier this year for 30 years - a sentence later reduced to 19 years because of time served in detention.

Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen, speaking Monday, described Vann Nath as the survivor "who gave voice to victims" both through his advocacy at the tribunal and through his lifelong work at the Tuol Sleng museum.

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

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid