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Cambodia's UN-Backed Tribunal Hears Appeal of Former Khmer Rouge Leader 

A former Khmer Rouge prison chief has asked Cambodia's United Nations-backed genocide tribunal to release him on bail before he is tried for crimes against humanity.

Prosecutors argued in Wednesday's pre-trial hearing that Kaing Guek Eav - also known as "Duch" - should remain in custody because he may try to flee if released.

Duch's defense lawyers argued that the eight years he has spent in detention since his arrest were a violation of his rights.

The judges adjourned without saying when they would reach a verdict.

The 65-year-old former school teacher will be be tried for his role overseeing the infamous Khmer Rouge interrogation center, S-21, during the group's rule from 1975 to 1979.

An estimated 16,000 men, women and children were tortured at the prison before being executed at the infamous "killing fields." At most, 14 people held in the prison survived.

In July, the tribunal took Duch into its custody from a military prison where he had been held since 1999.

The tribunal has since arrested and charged four other former top leaders with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Those charged are former head of state Khieu Samphan, former foreign minister Ieng Sary, social affairs minister Ieng Thirith, and the group's second in command Noun Chea.

Trials for their roles in the deaths of nearly two million people under Khmer Rouge rule are expected to begin next year.

The top Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998.

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