Ieng Thirith’s biography February 25, 2009Posted by chandrapong007 in Cambodia, History, Politics.
Ieng Thirith (born 1932, Battambang Province) was a member of the Khmer Rouge Central Committee.
Born Khieu Thirith in northwestern Cambodia’s Battambang Province, she came from a relatively wealthy and privileged family, and was the second daughter of a Cambodian judge who abandoned the family during World War II, running off to Battambang with a Cambodian princess.
Thirith graduated from the Lycée Sisowath in Phnom Penh, and while still in Cambodia, she became engaged to Ieng Sary, who attended Lycée in the year above her. She went on to Paris with her sister where she studied English Literature majoring in Shakespeare at the Sorbonne. She became the first Cambodian to achieve a degree in English Literature. Thirith married Ieng Sary in the town hall of Paris’ 15th arrondissement the summer of 1951 and took her husband’s name, becoming Ieng Thirith. Her older sister, Khieu Ponnary, later became the wife of Pol Pot. Together the two sisters and their husbands later became known as ‘Cambodia’s Gang of Four’, a reference to the radical group led by Jiang Qing the widow of Mao Tse-tung.
She returned to her native Cambodia in 1957 and worked as a professor before founding a private English school in 1960.
She was a senior member of the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) regime. From 1975 to 1979 Thirith was Minister of Social Affairs and Action and Head of Democratic Kampuchea’s Red Cross Society.
Thirith lived with her husband Ieng Sary in a luxurious villa on Street 21 in southern Phnom Penh. Until her arrest, she was rarely seen in public.
By 2006, Ieng Thirith and her husband had retained foreign legal counsel to assist with their defense as the Cambodia Tribunal made progress with courtroom preparation and judge selection.  She was arrested, along with ailing Ieng Sary, on November 12, 2007, at their home in Phnom Penh, after being indicted by the Cambodia Tribunal. She was arrested for crimes against humanity: “planning, direction, coordination and ordering of widespread purges … and the unlawful killing or murder of staff members from within the Ministry of Social Affairs.”
a b c Ker Munthit, Associated Press (November 11, 2007). “Ieng Thirith: A pioneer among female leaders of the Khmer Rouge“. msnbc.msn.com. Retrieved on 2007-11-15.
a b David P. Chandler (1999). “Brother Number One: A Political Biography of Pol Pot” (ISBN 0813335108). p.32. Westview Press. Retrieved on 2007-11-15.
Securing Allegiance: Elite’s Children Find Love in a Hot Political Climate, Cambodia Daily Weekend Edition Saturday, January 17-18, 2004
a b Michael Sheridan (February 19, 2006). “Pol Pot’s in-laws face trial“. timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved on 2007-11-15.
Ian MacKinnon, South-east Asia correspondent (November 12, 2007). “Leading Khmer Rouge figures arrested“. Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved on 2007-11-15.
“ECCC detains Ieng Sary, wife for questioning“, Xinhua, November 12, 2007.
“Ex-official of Khmer Rouge and wife arrested for crimes against humanity“, Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), November 12, 2007.
Philip Short. Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare. Henry Holt and Company, 2005.