S-21 Prison (Toul Sleng Prison)
The most major prison in the Democratic of Kampuchea was known as “S21 Prison”. The word (S) stands by for security, and number 21 is the last second number of Ory Kom of comrade Nat, a former president of S21 center. This prison is located at the South of Phnom Penh city (Sangkat Toul Svay prey). S21 Center was a secret prison for detaining, questioning, torturing and killing the prisoners, to be sent in there. Event thought the S 21 was a secret and cruel center of Democratic of Kampuchea, there were about 179 prisoners had been released between the year of 1975 to 1978. Out of 14, 000 prisoners, there were about 23 prisoners were alive after the collapse of Democratic of Kampuchea. Those people had been given alive because they had special skills which were benefit for S21 center. Some of them were painters, clock fixers, and sculptors.
1. Building at S21 center
The S-21 center is the former Chao Ponhnhea Yeat high school, built in 1962. This prison was situated on the land size of 600m in length, and 400m in width. At the back of school gate, there are two hen covered, wooded buildings, the former of Toul Sleng primary school. All the buildings are created as S21 center. In the time of Democratic Kampuchea, S21 center was surrounded by Zinc fence and wire line with electricity. Within the prison perimeter, there are 4 main buildings. The downstairs classrooms had been divided into small rooms with the size of 0, 8m by 2m, which a room was for a prisoner. The first flow classrooms with the size of 8m by 6m were used for detaining collective prisoners. At the second flow, each room got bigger size, and detained from 40 to 50 prisoners. One room was used as the office of Duch, President of prison, and another room was used as documented office and general administrative office. The prison nearby some houses had been utilized as places for questioning and torturing.
2. The prisoners
Mostly of prisoners at S21 center had been charged of party betrayal or revolutionary betrayal, or had been used to work for betrayed comrades who were already arrested. Short time passed, the leaders of Communist Party putted doubt and got more and more untrusted on comrades and its troops. For example, in October 1976 in the process of tightening national security, Pol Pot made the arrest on many high senior comrades, and token to detain in S21 center. The Khmer rouge leaders found that enemies could be everywhere in the country, and made the arrest on its many Communist Parties’ members in a months. The prisoners at S21 center, included about 400 foreigners, mostly were Vietnamese. Comrades serving in prison, some had become prisoners at there too. Those comrades had confessed to being lazy in preparing documents, making damage on machines and other instruments, or hitting the prisoners until getting died during the questioning time without permission. The most of confessions at the S21 center were untrue answers, due to most of prisoners had not committed serious mistakes, and the prisoners had confessed to being free from torturing.