Cambodia police arrest Khmer Rouge president

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PHNOM PENH, Nov 19 (Reuters) Rifle-toting Cambodian police arrested ex-Khmer Rouge President Khieu Samphan today, the fifth member of Pol Pot's inner circle to be detained by the U.N.-backed ''Killing Fields'' tribunal.

The French-educated guerrilla leader was taken from a hospital in the capital Phnom Penh where he was treated after suffering a fall last week at his home in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Pailin on the Thai border.

''Khieu Samphan is being transferred to the tribunal,'' a police official said.

A close confidante of Pol Pot, Khieu Samphan has denied any knowledge of atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge during its four-year reign of terror from 1975-79.

An estimated 1.7 million people were executed or died of torture, disease or starvation under the ultra-Maoist revolution.

Reuters SKB VP0955

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