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David Dare Parker
The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the former Phnom Penh high school which was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979
[Security Prison 21 (s-21), Cambodia]
Black and white image
Provided by the artist - David Pare Parker
© David Dare Parker
Tuol Sleng (Khmer [tu?l slae?]) means "Hill of the Poisonous Trees" or "Strychnine Hill" From 1975 to 1979, an estimated 17,000 people were imprisoned at Tuol Sleng (some estimates suggest a number as high as 20,000, although the real number is unknown). At any one time, the prison held between 1,000-1,500 prisoners. They were repeatedly tortured and coerced into naming family members and close associates, who were in turn arrested, tortured and killed. In the early months of S-21's existence, most of the victims were from the previous Lon Nol regime and included soldiers, government officials, as well as academics, doctors, teachers, students, factory workers, monks, engineers, etc. Later, the party leadership's paranoia turned on its own ranks and purges throughout the country saw thousands of party activists and their families brought to Tuol Sleng and murdered.