Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Half of recent pardons were for sex offences

Half of recent pardons were for sex offences

Inmates leave Prey Sar prison after they were pardoned in 2015.
Inmates leave Prey Sar prison after they were pardoned in 2015. Vireak Mai

Half of recent pardons were for sex offences

Among the 35 convicted criminals who had their prison sentences reduced by the King for the Visak Bochea holiday, more than half committed sex-related offences, according to documents obtained by The Post yesterday.

In a royal decree signed May 29, King Norodom Sihamoni signed pardons for four convicts for crimes ranging from theft to rape, and reduced 35 sentences by up to a year.

Of the 23 convicts who had their sentences reduced by six months, almost two-thirds were jailed for sex-related crimes including rape and procurement of prostitution.

Justice Ministry spokesman Kim Santepheap speaks to the press after the Ministry's meeting on prisoners' pardons during Khmer New Year earlier this year in Phnom Penh.
Justice Ministry spokesman Kim Santepheap speaks to the press after the Ministry's meeting on prisoners' pardons during Khmer New Year earlier this year in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Several convicts had raped a child under the age of 15 but were deemed to “have worked hard to improve themselves during serving their punishment”, the royal decree said.

Chin Malin, a spokesman for the Justice Ministry, which compiles the list, said the nature of the crime was not considered when deciding whether to reduce a sentence or grant a pardon. Instead, the prisoners’ cooperation with the authorities and the duration of their term served were considered.

He said that the leniency granted to sex offenders “does not encourage rape crimes”, adding that a pardon or sentence reduction would not be granted “if the nature of the crime was brutal”.

But in an email, Chak Sopheap, executive director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, expressed concern that the government might not consider rape a serious crime, and said the system of royal pardons needs to establish transparency and clearer criteria.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,