One of the most infamous leaders of the former Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia has died. Ta Mok, who was a key defendent in forthcoming Killing Fields trials, died in an army hospital. The 82-year-old lapsed into a coma last week after suffering breathing problems for several weeks. To the end he protested his innocence, saying he was merely a simple soldier maligned
by the international media. Historians say he oversaw massive and bloody purges, earning himself the nickname “The Butcher”.
More than 1.7 million people are thought to have died under the Khmer Rouge, which seized power in the Asian country in 1975. It was finally ousted by the Vietnamese in 1979.