Thailand Set to Release 150,000 Prisoners

by Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Thailand is set to pardon 150,000 inmates including some those who insulted the monarch, according to the Royal Gazette on Tuesday.

The commutation of prisoners’ sentences is one of first decision of the county’s new King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Vajiralongkorn succeeded his King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Dec. 1 after the latter died on Oct. 13

“This is the first opportunity since his majesty’s ascension to show his mercy,” the royal announcement said.

In a report from Reuters, Kobkiat Kasivivat, Thailand’s director general of the Department of Corrections, said that drug-related offenses and insults made against the royal family will be pardoned.

According to the report, Thailand has yet to publicly release the exact number of prisoners who were convicted of 112 or royal insult law.

However, a data from legal monitoring body iLaw, it said that over 80 prosecutions had taken place since mid-2014 in connection with the royal insult law.

Officials said that prisoners’ age and behavior, among other factors, will be reviewed before availing the royal pardon or lowering of sentences.

Chanchao Chaiyanukit, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, said that the prisoners “will be looked at on a case by case basis at each individual corrections facility.”

Those who are not eligible for the royal pardon include prisoners who were convicted of rape and murder.

Thailand has posted a rising number of inmates convicted of drugs due to its stiff laws.

As of July, there are 321,347 people being imprisoned in Thailand.

Around 70 percent of them are convicted due to drugs, the report said.

 

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