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More than 100 receive royal pardons for Water Festival

Women carry their possessions out of Prey Sar prison after being released earlier this year.
Women carry their possessions out of Prey Sar prison after being released earlier this year. Vireak Mai

More than 100 receive royal pardons for Water Festival

More than 100 prisoners have received royal pardons and hundreds more have seen their sentences reduced under King Norodom Sihamoni’s traditional Water Festival clemency, officials said yesterday.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin said 106 prisoners have been pardoned while 576 have received sentence reductions of six to 12 months under a royal decree issued Friday.

“The list of names has been checked and evaluated since the beginning of November,” he said.

Be Tealeng, director of operations at the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Prisons, said the 106 inmates who received pardons were freed on Monday evening.

Most of the inmates included were imprisoned for crimes relating to “drugs, theft and robbery, and a very small number were involved in murders”, Tealeng said.

“Among those freed prisoners, two of them are Chinese and were convicted of homicide and drug offences.”

Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator with local group Licadho, said the clemency was “unfair”.

He added that in previous rounds of pardons, inmates have paid bribes in exchange for their release, meaning “if they did not have money, their names would not have been on the list”.

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