This was no ordinary wedding. The biggest crowd that some villagers could ever recall seeing in Banteay Meanchey’s Malai district was gathered yesterday to witness the wedding of a woman whose genealogy will forever remain notorious across the country and, indeed, the world.
Pol Pot’s daughter, Sar Patchata, was getting married.
Rows of luxury cars lined a field in Malai commune’s Kbal Spean village, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold.
Assembled inside the wedding party were officials from as far away as Phnom Penh. Alongside them were former Khmer Rouge soldiers who had travelled a much shorter distance to attend and whose friendships with each other went back decades.
Patchata, 26, is the only daughter of Pol Pot, the former Khmer Rouge leader responsible for an estimated 1.7 million deaths during Democratic Kampuchea’s brutal agrarian-based dictatorship of 1975 to 1979.
Meanwhile, Vietnam jailed a prominent blogger for 15 months on Wednesday on a charge of anti-state activity, the second such sentencing in a fortnight in a nation where perceived dissent is severely punished.
Pham Viet Dao, 61, a Communist Party member and a former official at the Ministry of Culture, was charged with “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the State” after a half-day trial in Hanoi.
In addition to his own writing, Dao’s popular blog included dozens of links to other commentaries on politics and society.