Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana yesterday said a woman sentenced to 165 years in prison over numerous convictions could possibly have her sentences consolidated.
Pech Sonet, who is in prison on multiple convictions including, a robbery which claimed the life of her husband, was three-months pregnant with her son when she first entered prison.
The Cambodia Human Rights Committee on Tuesday placed the child in the custody of an NGO, Développement Enfance Cambodge in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district.
While speaking about judicial reform at the National Assembly yesterday, Mr Vong Vathana spoke of Ms Sonet’s case, noting that she has been imprisoned for more than three years now.
He noted that Ms Sonet will not likely be carrying out her full sentence, as the courts can consolidate her cases and look into the heaviest crime to set a punishment.
“The woman can appeal to higher courts and when the verdict takes place, a sentence on the heftiest crime will be implemented,” Mr Vong Vathana said.
“The woman was sentenced to 165 years for nine verdicts,” he added. “I investigated the cases, where the punishment for each case was approximately 18 years. So, the total from the nine verdicts add up to more than 160 years.”
He explained that she committed crimes in eight to nine places over several months.
“The woman was joined by her husband and their team many years ago, and her husband was shot to death, while she and the others were arrested and punished in accordance with the law and detained until now,” Mr Vong Vathana said.
Mr Vong Vathana said that she delivered her son while in jail and was allowed to care for the boy until he was three years of age, as stipulated by law.
According to the minister, there are currently 32,087 people in prisons across the country, including those who are in pre-trial detention.
Of the total, 2,885 are women, including 33 who are pregnant and 114 women with children under the age of three.