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New round of pardons in time for holiday

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Workers decorate a boat with lights for the upcoming Water Festival. The holidays will see a new round of pardons for prisoners. Hong Menea

New round of pardons in time for holiday

The National Committee for Punishment Reduction and Exemption Review will consider a new round of pardons for 523 prisoners in the run-up to the upcoming Water Festival, said Soch Sophanara, a senior official at the Ministry of Justice.

He said on Wednesday that the review would be based on legal principles and humanitarian grounds and that the committee will also consider the seriousness of the convicts’ crimes and their prison behaviour.

“First, the prisoner must be over 65 years old. Second, the prisoner suffers from a serious illness. Third, we consider cases of women prisoners whose children are living with them in prison,” he said.

“Also, if we see that prisoners have not learnt their lesson and their [criminal] case is so horrible that releasing them can affect the security of our society, then the committee will not review [their cases],” he added.

He said that the government had also asked the ministry to consider releasing more prisoners for other upcoming public holidays in 2018, including the newly established Win-Win Policy Day on December 29.

The day marks the 20th anniversary of the policy that Prime Minister Hun Sen used to entice Khmer Rouge leaders to join peace talks in 1990.

General Department of Prisons deputy director-general Uch Pong said there are currently 31,226 prisoners nationwide, of which 2,663 are women.

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