Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New year, new batch of clemency petitions to mark January 7

New year, new batch of clemency petitions to mark January 7

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A prison van transports inmates in Phnom Penh last year. POST STAFF

New year, new batch of clemency petitions to mark January 7

The Ministry of Justice has evaluated and rendered decisions on the status of nearly 300 prisoners who put in official requests for clemency on the occasion of January 7 or Victory Day on the Kingdom’s official calendar.

Justice ministry secretary of state Kim Santepheap said on December 30 that the committee has evaluated the requests of nearly 300 prisoners who sought pardons and sentence reductions as part of the 2023 observance of January 7.

He said that the evaluations have already been sent to Prime Minister Hun Sen for review and a decision before he sends those he deems appropriate onto King Norodom Sihamoni for his signature.

The exact number of prisoners requesting clemency is 283, including 27 women. Among them, 215 have requested sentence reductions of three months, 54 requested six month reductions, 11 requested nine month reductions and two requested one year reductions.

According to a Royal Decree issued in January 2021, clemency can be applied for each year on five occasions: January 7, Khmer New Year, Visak Bochea, Independence Day and Water Festival.

However, by statute the amount a prisoner’s sentence may be reduced is governed by the length of his initial sentence and the amount a convict may have taken off of their sentence due to any one petition is restricted to no more than one year. The severity or nature of their crimes may also factor in and they must serve a certain portion of their entire sentence first before being eligible to request clemency.

The prime minister has the role of evaluating and deciding which petitions are in the public interest and he then forwards his selections to the king who signs a royal decree to put them into effect.

According to the King’s decree establishing the programme, clemency is applied in order to integrate prisoners back into society on a humanitarian basis.


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