Minister to review pardon requests

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana will lead a meeting today to review requests for pardons or sentence reductions from 252 prisoners, including 16 women, to coincide with Visak Bochea Day on May 18.

Kim Santepheap, Justice Ministry spokesman, announced on Saturday that Mr Vong Vathana, chairman of the National Commission for the Evaluation of Prisoners, will meet with representatives of relevant institutions to consider the requests.

“The requests were raised by the directors of 22 municipal and provincial prisons and also three correctional centres,” he noted.

Lieutenant General Och Pong, deputy director-general of the General Department of Prisons, yesterday said some of the prisoners requested a sentence reduction or pardon based on their good behaviour while serving their sentences.

“Generally, all prisoners can request to reduce their sentence or for pardons but consideration will be given to those who have shown that they have reformed and who qualify,” he said.

Lt Gen Pong said he did not know if there were any foreigners, political or land activists among the 252 who made requests.

“I have just came back from a mission in a province, so I have not seen the document yet,” he said.

According to the law, prisoners who have completed two-thirds of their sentence can request for a pardon while those who have completed one-third of their sentence can seek a reduction in their sentence.

Lieutenant General Be Tea Leng, another department deputy director-general, yesterday said that there are some foreigners among the 252 prisoners.

“I just know that there are some foreigners among 252 prisoners who have made the requests, but I don’t remember which country they come from,” he said, adding that he did not know if the list included any political or land activists.

Lt Gen Tea Leng noted that inmates have three opportunities to request a pardon or sentence reduction. These are during Khmer New Year in April, Visak Bochea Day in May and the Water Festival in November.

He said that last year Prime Minister Hun Sen decided to add Pchum Ben in October, Independence Day in November and Win-Win Policy Day in December to the occasions when inmates could also make the requests.

Last month, the National Commission for the Evaluation of Prisoners selected 134 prisoners, including a woman, to either be pardoned by the King or have their sentences reduced to mark Khmer New Year.

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