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Vann Nath
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Artist
    (1946-September 5, 2011)
    Born in Phum Sophy, Cambodia
    One of only seven surviving prisoners of Tuol Sleng Prison when the Khmer Rouge fell
    Painted various paintings of the tortures and executions he witnessed at Tuol Sleng Prison
    Worked as a painter of billboards, movie placards, and private portraits prior to being forced to work as a rice farmer upon the Khmer Rouge's takeover
    Arrested by the Khmer Rouge and transferred to Tuol Sleng for 'violating' the Angkar Code (January 7, 1978)
    Wrote 'A Cambodian Prison Portrait: One Year in the Khmer Rouge's S-21 Prison' (1998)
    Featured in the documentary 'S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine', in which he interrogated his former captors (2001)
    Awarded Hellman/Hammett Award for Persecuted Writers (2007)
    Testified against Duch during his trial (2009)
    Died of a heart attack that sent him into a coma in Phnom Penh
    His exact birth date is unknown becuase it was common for poor rural Cambodians to not own proper birth certificates.
    He painted and sculpted portraits of Pol Pot during his incarceration at Tuol Sleng.
    He even thought about eating human flesh during his incarceration because the prisoners were given so little food.
    After Duch ordered that his life be spared, he was treated a little better than the rest of Tuol Sleng's prisoners.
    He didn't know why his life was spared, implying his unawareness that the Khmer Rouge used his skills to create propaganda material.
    Considering the subject matter of most of his paintings, they're obviously not for the faint of heart.
    His family was so poor that he couldn't receive a proper education.
    His arrest for 'violating' the Angkar Code was unjustified because he didn't know what it meant.
    Two of his children died during the Cambodian Genocide.
    Aside from painting macabre scenes of his imprisonment, he also painted idyllic scenes, such as a 1998 painting titled 'Village of My Birth'.
    He helped revivie the arts in Cambodia.
    He suffered from various health problems, including kidney diseases.
    Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said that he gave 'a voice to the Cambodian Genocide's victims through his work at Tuol Sleng and his testimonies before the court'.

Credit: Big Lenny


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