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More jailed mothers set to be freed

More jailed mothers set to be freed

Another 37 female prisoners who are pregnant or have children will receive royal pardons during next week’s Khmer New Year holiday.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Kim Santepheap yesterday said that the 37 women will be released from prison on Tuesday, the first day of Khmer New Year. Their release comes on the heels of the March 8 release of 22 mothers and expectant mothers in connection with International Women’s Day.

“There are 23 [female] prisoners who have children, along with 14 prisoners who are pregnant who will be released during Khmer New Year,” Santepheap said, adding that the decision was made at a Justice Ministry meeting on Monday. “Some have been released [without pardon] because they have served their jail terms already.”

The women will be joined by another 113 prisoners receiving full pardons, while another 662 prisoners are scheduled to see their sentences reduced the same day.

King Norodom Sihamoni’s pardon of the women followed a mid-February request from Prime Minister Hun Sen, which came shortly after a report from local rights group Licadho about mothers giving birth and raising children behind bars.

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