Cambodia pardons 400 prisoners for funeral of ex-king
- Published: 30/01/2013 at 09:44 PM
- Online news:
Cambodia will free more than 400 prisoners, including a Thai convicted of spying, to mark the funeral of its beloved former king, Norodom Sihanouk, an official said on Wednesday.
Cambodians take pictures of the cremation site for the late former King Norodom Sihanouk near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh on January 29, 2013. Cambodia says it will free more than 400 prisoners, including a Thai convicted of spying, to mark the funeral of its beloved former king.
Sihanouk's son Norodom Sihamoni, the current king, has signed a royal decree to pardon 412 prisoners who will be released on Monday, the day of his father's cremation, according to justice ministry spokesman Sam Pracheameanith.
"This is a special pardon to mark the royal funeral. It is the royal tradition to pardon prisoners during such a funeral for a king," he told AFP.
In a separate decree, Sihamoni cut the sentence of Veera Somkwamkid, a former leader of Thailand's "Yellow Shirt" royalist movement jailed for spying in 2011 in a disputed border area, by six months.
But it granted freedom to Veera's secretary Ratree Pipattanapaibul, who was jailed for six years over the same incident, Pracheameanith said, adding she would be released on Friday.
Sihanouk, who abdicated in 2004 after steering Cambodia through six decades marked by independence from France, civil war, the murderous Khmer Rouge regime and finally peace, died of a heart attack in Beijing on October 15.
A lavish funeral procession on Friday will see his body carried from the royal palace in Phnom Penh to a funeral pyre in a nearby park, which is expected to draw more than one million mourners to the capital's streets.
The revered former monarch will be cremated on Monday, and according to the schedule for the funeral, the Cambodian prisoners will be released at the cremation site where they will receive gifts from King Sihamoni and the Queen Mother -- Sihanouk's widow Monique.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency