In August 1975, four months after taking over the country and entering Phnom Penh, the Khmer Rouge converted the Tuol Svay Prey High School into a "Security Prison 21" (S-21).

Most of the victims were former members of the Khmer Rouge regime who had been suspected of being disloyal, soldiers accused of betrayal or some of the highest ranking communist politicians that were uncomfortable for the authorities.

Prisoners died as a result of gruesome torture often lasting for several months. Some of them were killed in S-21, but most of them were taken to the Choeung Ek extermination centre (known as the Killing Fields), fifteen kilometres from Phnom Penh.

According to various estimates, between 17,000 and 20,000 people were sent to the prison and the interrogation center.

Only 12 survived.

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