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During the reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the 1970s, more than 1.7 million people were killed. One of the top officials of the regime's prison system... was sentenced to 35 years in prison last July, but now he's asking for his release.
A former Khmer Rouge prison chief appeared at the United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal on Wednesday for the last day of a hearing into appeals over his jail sentence.
In his closing statement, 67-year-old Kaing Guek Eav, better know as Duch, asked the court for his release. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison in July 2010 for overseeing 14,000 deaths in Cambodia during the 1970s.
Duch was found guilty of murder, torture, rape, crimes against humanity and other charges as chief of Tuol Sleng prison. That was a converted school known as S-21 that symbolized the horrors of a regime… blamed for 1.7 million deaths from 1975 to 1979.
Dozens of people turned up at the joint U.N.-Cambodian court, which seeks justice for nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population killed by execution, overwork or torture during the Khmer Rouge's agrarian revolution.
[Duch, Former Khmer Rouge Prison Chief]:
"I would like your honors of the supreme court chamber to consider and decide on the issue of my personal jurisdiction that I do not fall within that jurisdiction of the ECCC. This is the principle that you should abide by in order to seek justice and truth for the Cambodian people and as well as for the former Khmer Rouge soldiers and cadres especially the middle class who do not fall within the jurisdiction of this tribunal."
Duch's lawyers have appealed the court's verdict… and are seeking his release in consideration of his confession and co-operation with the court. They argue that Duch was not a top leader and was only following orders.