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Khmer Rouge Trial: Kaing Guek Eav, Chief Jailer, Gets Life In Prison

02/ 2/12 11:51 PM ET AP

Kaing Guek Eav
In this photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, former Khmer Rouge S-21 prison commander Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, sits in the courtroom for a session of U.N.-backed tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as the court gives verdict on appeal filed by Duch against his conviction Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Nhet Sok Heng)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The Khmer Rouge tribunal's Supreme Court has ordered the regime's chief jailer to serve life imprisonment, a surprise ruling that stiffens a 19-year sentence imposed by a lower court.

Kaing Guek Eav – also known as Duch – was commander of the notorious S-21 prison where thousands of Cambodians were tortured before execution"

In 2010, the tribunal's lower court convicted him of war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and murder.

He was sentenced to 35 years in prison but had 11 years shaved off.

The sentence was appealed by prosecutors who called it too lenient and by Duch who argued it was too harsh.

Friday's ruling marks the end of the tribunal's first war crimes case, which came more than 30 years after the Khmer Rouge's brutal reign.

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Filed by Jade Walker  |