Khmer Rouge's 'Brother Number Three' Dead at 87

Ieng Sary helped Pol Pot found the communist regime
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2013 3:29 AM CDT
Khmer Rouge's Ieng Sary Dead at 87
In this Nov. 14, 1996 file photo, Cambodia's then First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, left, chats with dissident Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary, right, upon his arrival at Malai, Cambodia.   (AP Photo/Ou Neakiry, File)

(Newser) – Ieng Sary, the brother-in-law of Pol Pot and co-founder of the communist Khmer Rouge regime, has died at age 87, Cambodia says. His death comes amid his trial for genocide between 1975 and 1979, the BBC notes; he'd been hospitalized since March 4 and died of "irreversible cardiac failure," said a rep for the country's UN-supported court. "We are disappointed that we could not complete the proceeding against Ieng Sary,'' he added.

Called "Brother Number Three," Ieng Sary was foreign minister in the regime, and as its top diplomat became a much more recognizable figure internationally than his secretive colleagues. He reportedly led an effort to bring Cambodian intellectuals back to the country after they fled the government. But upon returning, many were tortured and killed, the BBC notes. An estimated 1.7 million people died from starvation, disease, overwork, and execution, reports the AP. Ieng Sary defected from the Khmer Rouge in 1996 and was pardoned, but he was arrested six years ago as an international tribunal took hold. The case is set to continue against "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea and ex-leader Khieu Samphan. Click for more on Ieng Sary. (Read more Khmer Rouge stories.)

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