Minister of Interior Sar Sokha encouraged the Kingdom’s prison inmates to maintain their health and remain disciplined, in order to earn the opportunity to receive a pardon or sentence reduction.

He also urged them to take advantage of vocational training opportunities, so they could earn a living and become productive members of society upon their release.

Touch Sokhak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, took to social media on January 10 to announce that Sokha had shared his advice to inmates at the Kandal Provincial Prison in Takhmao town, Kandal Province, while conducting an inspection tour.

He added that Sokha had inspected the prison facilities, which include a sport building, vocational training centre, library, vegetable garden and medical centre.

He also inspected the isolated facility where Khieu Samphan, a former Khmer Rouge leader who received a life sentence for crimes against humanity in 2014.

Am Sam Ath, operations director at rights group LICADHO, said that prison detainees need as much encouragement as possible, as they are still citizens, even if the courts have denied them some rights.

He believed that encouraging them to get an education and change their behaviour was a positive move, and would allow them to successfully reintegrate into society.

 “The minister’s encouragement for them to correct themselves is a good thing. By obeying prison rules, behaving well and developing themselves into good people, they increase the likelihood of being a granted a partial or complete amnesty,” he added.

Keo Remy, Senior Minister and chair of the Cambodian Human rights Committee, visited Kandal Provincial Prison on December 20 last year to inspect conditions in the prison and ensure that human rights were respected. He also visited Khieu Samphan.

Following his visit, Remy commended the leadership and staff of the prison for performing their duties with the highest care, which improved the living conditions of the detainees and ensured their rights were respected, as stipulated in prison law.

He urged prison officials to pay close attention to the prevention of violence and torture, and to maintain national and international human rights standards.