DC-Cam returns records, photos of Khmer Rouge cadre to family

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sek Say, 52, holds a framed photograph of her father (left), a former Khmer Rouge cadre, and her mother holding one of her siblings. All three were killed at the Tuol Sleng S-21 detention centre. DC-CAM

The Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam) on Monday brought a 220-page document and photographs of a former Khmer Rouge cadre killed at the Tuol Sleng S-21 detention centre to his daughter in Kampong Speu province.

Sek Say, 52, said that since the fall of the Khmer Rouge, she had been searching for information about her father, not knowing that he had been killed at Tuol Sleng.

DC-Cam director Youk Chhang said that Say’s father Sek Satt was a former Khmer Rouge cadre who had gone by the Khmer Rouge revolutionary name “Prak”.

A photo of his wife Chan Kim Srun carrying a baby was on display at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, he added.

Satt and Kim Srun, along with one of their three children, were arrested in May 1978.

“Sek Satt was 35 years old and had received education in Phnom Penh before joining the Khmer Rouge in early 1970. He was made secretary of Unit 25 under the command of Ta Mok. Satt left a 220-page confession saying he had attempted to flee to Vietnam,” Chhang said.

DC-Cam staff Som Bunthorn on Monday brought 10 framed photographs to Say, who lives in Kampong Speu’s Stom Krapeu commune in Kong Pisei district. The photos included images of her parents and a sibling who were killed at Tuol Sleng prison.

“We brought the photos and documents to her because we thought it would be important, especially as she has been looking for her father for a long time. She thought her father was still alive. We hope she can tell the story to her children,” Bunthorn said.

Bunthorn said Say had been identified as the daughter of Satt after DC-Cam had invited her to an event in September on the lives of people who had lived through the Khmer Rouge regime and those brought to Tuol Sleng prison.

Say, a mother of five, told The Post on Monday that she was shocked to learn of her father’s death.

“I am shocked and in disbelief that my father was killed in Tuol Sleng. In the past, I had some hope that he was still alive and living somewhere,” she said.

Say said she was Satt and Kim Srun’s eldest child and became separated from them in 1977 at the age of 11, after which she was sent to live and work with other children.

Say’s sister Sek Nhek died from measles and starvation during the collapse of the Khmer Rouge in 1979. Her brother, whose name she did not remember, was killed with her parents at Tuol Sleng prison.

Bunthorn said that Say had learned in 2005 of the death of her mother when reading DC-Cam’s Searching for the Truth magazine but did not know that her father had also been killed. At the time, she only knew of her father’s revolutionary name, Prak.