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Gov’t spells out inmate exit policy

Gov’t spells out inmate exit policy

The Ministry of Interior yesterday ordered all prisons across the country to release inmates scheduled to be freed on weekends and public holidays ahead of time rather than prolonging their sentence.

The order was made in a letter from the ministry’s General Department of Prisons (GDP), which reminded prison directors that, “as a policy, a prisoner whose punishment ends on a Saturday or Sunday or on a public holiday . . . has to be released before the holiday in accordance with the penal code”.

GDP spokesman Sorn Keo said the rule is already spelled out in the Kingdom’s Law on Prisons, but yesterday’s directive was issued to “ensure that it is being effectively implemented”.

“We informed them of this because we are afraid that some prisons might be ignoring this rule, which violates detainees’ rights.”

Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator with local rights group Licadho, said he welcomed the GDP’s action.

“In the past, when a prisoner has completed their sentence and it is a holiday, they have had to wait until the officials come back from the holiday [to be released] . . . This amounts to illegal detention.”

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