Monday July 6th, the defence set the tone with a warning: their client, Duch, “expresses doubt as to whether the witness we are going to hear was detained in S-21.” The 57-year-old witness took his seat in the courtroom, thin gold-rimmed glasses on his nose and his arms put on the armrests. In 1979, the shopkeeper from Banteay Meanchey province changed his name, Hea Hor, to Ly Hor, he explained, before telling a story that contradicted in many points the testimonies of survivors already heard. In addition, to the general surprise, he seemed not to know the documents that were added to his application to become a civil party…
Many details conflicting with what is known of S-21
Enlisted by the revolutionary forces in regiment 119 since 1972, Ly Hor, he recounted, was arrested and detained in office 15, under the authority of sector 25, in 1976, before being transferred to Takmau prison and sent to Tuol Sleng prison, then Prey Sar prison, before finally escaping and managing to return to his native village. He stole food to satisfy his hunger, which was the reason for his arrest. After this short presentation, president Nil Nonn started a detailed interrogation. The answers of the witness, who is in his fifties and joined as a civil party, were brief and rarely came with details.
The son of farmers said he was interrogated only once in the prison which he alleged to be S-21, according to what he was told by a guard. “The interrogator told me I was stubborn and tried to scare me with an electric cable and an instrument he called a ‘buffalo penis.’ I told him, ‘Yes, I am scared, but my life is in your hands. If you want to kill me, you can kill me.’ […] He threw a cigarette butt and discarded food at me and ordered me to eat them.” He was threatened but not hit, he summarised.