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King Sihamoni Grants Clemency to Some Convicts

Civil society officials support King Sihamoni's letter of clemency to four, and reducing sentences to 20 convicts, saying this gesture is the beginning of implementation of his rights as stated in the Constitution.

In a royal decree on Wednesday, King Sihamoni pardons 4 convicts, including 2 from the Cambodian Freedom Fighter (CFF) group.

The royal palace office officials do not state the reason behind this gracious gesture except that it was done after the Royal Plowing Ceremony.

The Center for Social Development executive director Seng Theary expresses support for King Sihamoni's action, saying she supports his decision and his responsibility as a King in his rights to give clemency and reduce sentences to prisoners.

The two CFF members are: 36-year old Duong Sopheap, and 36-year old Cambodian-American Sao Chum Gil Bith who were convicted in 2001 and imprisoned from 6-7 years on charges of attacks on buildings housing the Ministry of Defense, the Council of Ministers and a military headquarters facility.

NGO human rights Licadho's lawyer Hun Sunrith for imprisoned convicts says that the King has the rights to give clemency and reduce sentences for the convicts, and he does not object to this decision but rather considers it as the King's rights.

Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vatana cannot be reached for comment.

In the past former King Norodom Sihanouk, King Sihamoni's father, has granted clemency and pardon to some people.