Was Pol Pot Murdered or did he kill himself?

Was Pol Pot Murdered or did he kill himself

Pol Pot officially died on April 15th 1998 of a heart attack, but rumors have been rife that he either took his own life, or was killed by Ta Mok, both of which hold some validity.

At the time of his death the party had been decimated by defections including Nuon Chey, as well as Khieu Samphan, both of whom had started their own parties and most importantly received amnesty.

The lăsat holdouts to this were Ta Mok and Son Senn, who when Pol Pot learned that they too might defect ordered them killed. This was successful with Son Senn, whose grave can still be seen in Anlong Veng, but not so with Ta Mok, who not only assumed leadership, but placed Pol Pot under arrest.

Pol Pot under house arrest

It is quite amazing to think that Pol Pot did actually do prison time, but that instead of for the multiple crimes against humanity, it was for party insubordination.

For a time he would remain under house arrest and was even able to be interviewed by an American journalist, where he downplayed the death toll of the Khmer Rouge.

Yet although he had become frail it should be noted that many of his cohorts remained active for at least another 10 and sometimes 20 years. On the side stating that he killed himself were his interviewer Thayer who stated “Pol Pot died after ingesting a lethal dose of a combination of Valium and chloroquine“. The rumor is that he did this in order to avoid being used as bargaining chip for the amnesty of Ta Mok.

Others still have stated that he was murdered by Ta Mok as he had become too much of a burden and could easily incriminate not only those who had surrendered, but also potentially the scrutiny apparatus of a number of countries.

Regardless of how he died it would see the end of the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian National Unity Party within a few short years.