THE FACE OF EVIL; Killing Fields dictator Pol Pot --- at his own show trial.
Byline: RICHARD SHEARS
Turn to Page 7, Col.1 THIS is the first photograph in 18 years of Pol Pot, the butcher of Cambodia.
The reviled leader of the infamous Khmer Rouge - responsible for murdering two million of his people during a four-year reign of terror depicted in the film The Killing Fields - is now a frail, white-haired 69-year-old.
The photo was shown on American TV last night, three days after Pol Pot's former Khmer Rouge comrades reportedly sentenced him to life imprisonment at an 80-minute show trial.
The only Western journalist to witness the scene, American Nate Thayer, said: 'The events of his purge and trial were so traumatic that I thought he might die during the process.
'You could see the anguish on his face as he was denounced by his former loyalists.
He was close to tears.' Dressed in simple peasant clothes, Pol Pot sat in silence on a makeshift stage, head bowed, while his former brothers in arms shouted: 'Crush, crush, crush, Pol Pot and his clique.' He had to be helped away after the sentence was pronounced at the trial at Anlong Veng, about 200 miles north west of the capital Phnom Penh.
Cambodian co-premier Hun Sen said the trial was a 'trick', however. He claimed Pol Pot still controlled guerilla forces in northern Cambodia.
The U.S. State Department said it could not confirm Thayer's report. But the journalist insisted: 'This is not a hoax.
This is not a ruse. Pol Pot is finished. The Khmer Rouge as we have known them no longer exist.' No Western journalist - and few outsiders - had seen Pol Pot since 1979. He was frequently rumoured to be dead.
Born Saloth Sar on May 19, 1928, Pol Pot, known as Brother Number One, led his Cambodian peasant army to victory against the American-backed Lon Nol republic in 1975, or Year Zero, as the Khmer Rouge called it.
They immediately embarked on a bloody restructuring of society.
His guerillas emptied Phnom Penh at gunpoint, forcing the sick from their beds.
Women, children and the old were ordered into the countryside and put to work in vast labour camps. More than a million were executed, while the same number again died from disease, starvation or overwork until the Vietnamese invasion launched on December
Under a tree, Pol Pot faces the open-air court of the Khmer Rouge Continued from Page One 25 1978 drove the Khmer Rouge from power. They fled to the border near Thailand where they continued to wage a guerilla war until the movement began to fragment as they began defecting to the government in 1996.
Shortly after he was ousted from Phnom Penh, a smiling Pol Pot said several thousand Cambodians had died 'due to some mistakes' in implementing his policies, but denied committing crimes against humanity.
At his trial, seven Khmer Rouge members accused him and his men of murder, destroying national reconciliation and stealing money from the party.
Pol Pot was born into a reasonably prosperous rural family and spent part of his youth as a novice monk at a pagoda in Phnom Penh, where relatives worked in the royal household.
Awarded a scholarship to study in France, he became so involved in radical student politics that he failed his exams and returned home.
He joined an underground movement opposed to the French colonialists. In 1963 he fled the capital for the countryside because of police suspicions against him.
He became party secretary in 1963 and in 1968 his Maoist guerillas launched their first attacks on army and police posts.
Eight years later he swept to power and unleashed his reign of terror, turning the country into a massive agricultural labour camp and purging all opposition.