The Kandal Provincial Prison has recommended clemency for 23 prisoners on the occasion of the Khmer New Year and Buddhist festival Vesak Day, while a senior provincial urged prison officials to be just in their assessments.

This year, the Khmer New Year falls on April 14 and Vesak Day on May 15.

Provincial prison director Em Nimol said a meeting on March 4 to discuss inmates’ cases determined that clemency was warranted for 10 of 12 petitioners for Khmer New Year, and seven of 11 for Vesak Day, Kandal Provincial Hall noted in a statement later that day.

Kandal provincial deputy governor Nop Dara mentioned at the meeting that prisoners must serve one-third of their sentence to be eligible for commutation, and two-thirds for a pardon – 20-30 years in case of a life sentence.

“Dara urged all relevant officials and authorities to examine and discuss [each case] in detail, in a comprehensive, fair and transparent manner, before commuting sentences or pardoning the inmates. This must be done in accordance with the law and guidelines,” the statement said.

He told officials that to be eligible for clemency, a prisoner must show realistic promise of rehabilitation as a law-abiding and productive member of their home community and society.