Cambodia to pardon 560 prisoners on Water Festival

Phnom Penh, Oct 26 (IANS) A total of 560 prisoners in Cambodia will receive pardon or reduction in their jail sentence on the occasion of Water Festival, which begins in mid-November, an official said on Wednesday.

Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana reviewed the list of prisoners forwarded by jails across the country and would make a final decision on Thursday afternoon, Efe news quoted Justice Ministry spokesman Kim Santhepheap as saying.

The ministry will then request King Norodom Sihamoni to grant royal pardons or reduce jail terms for the selected prisoners.

“Among the 560 prisoners, 43 are women,” he told reporters.

He said that under Cambodian law, a prisoner is qualified for a royal amnesty provided he or she has served at least two-thirds of the jail term and behaved well while serving time in prison.

For a jail-term reduction, a prisoner must have served at least one-third of the prison term, he said.

The Water Festival will be celebrated on November 13, 14 and 15. It is the largest annual festival in Cambodia. Over a million Cambodians, especially those from rural areas, will flock to Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, to enjoy the traditional boat races on the Tonle Sap River and the carnival atmosphere ashore.