Saloth Sar (19 May 1925 – 15 April 1998) better known as Pol Pot, was a Cambodian Maoist revolutionary who led the Khmer Rouge from 1963 until his death in 1998. From 1963 to 1981, he served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea. From 1976 to 1979, he also served as the prime minister of Democratic Kampuchea. Pol Pot became leader of Cambodia on April 17, 1975. During his time in power he imposed agrarian socialism, forcing urban dwellers to relocate to the countryside to work in collective farms and forced labour projects. The combined effects of forced labor, malnutrition, poor medical care, and executions resulted in the deaths of approximately 21% of the Cambodian population. In all, an estimated 800,000 to three million people (out of a population of approximately seven million) died under his three-year premiership.
In 1979, after the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, Pol Pot fled to the jungles of southwest Cambodia, and the Khmer Rouge government collapsed. From 1979 to 1997, he and a remnant of the old Khmer Rouge operated near the border of Cambodia and Thailand, where they clung to power, with nominal United Nations recognition as the rightful government of Cambodia. Pol Pot died in 1998 while under house arrest by the Ta Mok faction of the Khmer Rouge. Since his death, rumours that he was poisoned have persisted