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Ex-general pardoned by the King

A former high-ranking army official jailed in 2011 for concealing weapons has been freed after serving less than half his jail sentence.

Brigadier General Samith Virak, former deputy director of the materiels department of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, received a Royal pardon and was acquitted on October 1.

The former one-star general was sentenced to four years in jail in November 2011 after a court found him guilty of hiding illegal weapons and impersonating a three-star general.

While the law requires prisoners to serve two-thirds of their sentence before being eligible for a Royal pardon, Ney Thol, president of the Military Court, told the Post yesterday that Virak’s release was “based on the law”, and he had served enough jail-time after being granted a reduced sentence.

Sok Sam Oeun, head of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said the King is entitled to special powers upon the prime minister’s request. “He can grant the pardon whenever he wants,” Sam Oeun said.

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