News / Europe

Rare Photo Found of Westerner Killed by Khmer Rouge

A Cambodian-led research team has uncovered a rare photograph of one of the few Westerners to be killed at a notorious Khmer Rouge prison in the 1970s.

The Documentation Center for Cambodia sent the photograph of French Embassy worker Andre Gaston Courtigne to VOA's Khmer Service Thursday. Chief archivist Chhang Youk said his team found the photograph by chance while sifting through thousands of paper documents at the center, which seeks to preserve the history of Khmer Rouge genocide victims. The ultra-leftist group ruled Cambodia from 1975-79.




1 – Name of origin: COURTIGNE, André Gaston - Alias …………………………………………
2 – Age: 30 Years old Nationality: French Sex: Male
3 – Place of Birth: Village: Rosiers 37 Commune: Andrezé District: Loire Province: France
4 – Ministry and role before Phnom Penh Liberation Day (in 1975): Clerk at French embassy, Typist
5 – Ministry and current role: new farmer, rice growing and herding cows
6 – Father’s name: COURTIGNE Makto Mother’s name: Nil Phorn
7 – Spouse’s name: Chhay Rasy Alias: …………………………..
8 – Place of Birth: Village: Phnom Thipdey Commune: …………………
District: Kas Kralor Province: Battambang
9 – Current Address: ……………………………………
10 – Number of sons: 1 Daughter: 1
11 – Place of arrest: Kampong Kdey District (Siem Reap) 12 – Arrested on: Day 15 Month: 4 Year: 1976 House: 7 Room: 9



Courtigne already was known to have been one of 11 Westerners killed at the Khmer Rouge's Tuol Sleng interrogation center, also referred to as S-21. But the newly released photograph is the first known to show the Frenchman after his detention.

Chhang Youk said researchers stumbled on Courtigne's image during a document search aimed at trying to identify two other Western prisoners whose photographs were among hundreds donated to the center earlier this month.

"This document [about Courtigne] had been in our hands [before we received the donated photographs], but we had to search for it manually because we had not catalogued it yet," he said.

The two other Westerners have not yet been identified.

The Courtigne photograph was attached to several pages documenting his detention at Tuol Sleng, where the Khmer Rouge killed more than 10,000 prisoners, almost all Cambodians, after interrogating and forcing them to confess to alleged anti-regime crimes. The first page of Courtigne's file shows that the 30-year-old was arrested in Siem Reap in April 1976, when he worked as a French Embassy clerk and typist.

It also shows that he was married to a Cambodian woman and had a son and a daughter. The documents listed his birthplace as Maine-et-Loire in west-central France.

The researchers also have sent the documents to the French Embassy in Phnom Penh. Chhang Youk said French diplomats told him they were looking into the case.

Kimseng Men contributed to this report.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More