PHNOM PENH, 12 NOVEMBER, 2010: The Ministry of Interior has asked Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni to grant pardons for 558 prisoners on the occasion of the upcoming water festival, China's Xinhua news agency reported.
Gen. Heng Hak, director general of the general directorate of prisons at the Interior Ministry, said that he has proposed to King Norodom Sihamoni, while municipal and provincial prosecutors and the Ministry of Justice have already agreed to grant amnesty to 558 prisoners nationwide.
"We suggest it to the king for amnesty and jailed term commutation because we have inspected that they behave well and are willing to correct
themselves while in jailed term," he said.
Among the 558 prisoners, 89 prisoners are proposed to release from prisons and 469 are asked to commute their jailed terms.
He said that he is not sure yet if the amnesty proposal reaches the King.
Heng Hak said that every year, the amnesty for prisoners in Cambodia will be conducted on four special occasions -- Water festival, former King Norodom Sihanouk's birthday, Khmer New Year and Visak Bochea Day -- the birth, enlightenment and death day of the Buddha.
Since January to now 2010, 1,231 prisoners have been asked for amnesty, he added.
Gen. Khieu Sopheak, the spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said that prisoners who have chances to be granted amnesty only if they have already served two thirds of their jailed term.
The water festival will be on Nov 20-22.
According to the Committee for Organising National and International Festivals, there will be 420 boats joining the regatta this year, which is expected to attract around 2 million visitors.