Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prisoners queue up for possible New Year's pardons

Prisoners queue up for possible New Year's pardons

Prisoners queue up for possible New Year's pardons

More than 600 of the Kingdom’s inmates could be released or see their sentences reduced this Khmer New Year if the King responds favourably to a request made yesterday by the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Prisons, officials said.

Kuy Bunsorn, director general of the department, has asked the King to consider issuing Royal pardons or reducing the sentences of a total of 625 prisoners nationwide between April 14 and 16. But it remains to be seen how many inmates will benefit from the request.

“We are having a meeting to decide on the matter. We do not know the exact numbers,” Bunsorn said yesterday.

Sam Proche Meanith, a chief cabinet member of the Ministry of Justice, said he is also unsure how many would ultimately be released.

“We do not know how many people we will pardon and reduce sentences [for], because [it has been sent] to the Royal Palace for the Royal Pardon and sentence deduction,” Proche Meanith said.

Every year, prisons across the country ask for pardons and sentence reductions for inmates during the national holidays of Khmer New Year, Phchum Ben and the Water Festival, Proche Meanith said.

Last year, the government also asked the King to pardon 412 prisoners across the country and reduce the sentences of 84 to mark the funeral of King Norodom Sihanouk.

Proche Meanith said inmates are only ever considered if they have served at least two-thirds of their sentence, shown good behaviour inside the prison and proved that they can reintegrate back into the community as law-abiding citizens.

But Chan Soveth, a senior investigator with rights group Adhoc, said the pardons and sentence reductions are not always awarded to those most deserving of them, as corruption plays a key part in decision making.

“We are always hearing from the relatives of prisoners [that they will not] be pardoned or have their sentences reduced unless they pay money,” he said.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which

  • Phnom Penh smothered in smelly, dangerous haze as landfill fire continues burning

    A putrid haze that has bedeviled Phnom Penh since Monday night will likely continue as a landfill in Dangkao district continued to burn on Friday, creating health risks for the capital's residents. Workers at the Dangkao landfill on site on Friday attributed the fire, which