By Phetsamone Chandala
January 27, 2012
Some 326 prisoners in Vientiane are the beneficiaries of a presidential pardon to mark last year’s 36th National Day, it was announced at the Ministry of Public Security’s Phonphanao Club yesterday.
Under the pardon, 258 prisoners in Vientiane had their sentences reduced, and another 68 were freed after serving time for criminal acts.
Nationwide, a total of 665 prisoners are to be pardoned, including 538 who will have their sentences cut, 119 who will be freed, and 8 to be released for medical treatment.
Speaking in Vientiane yesterday, Deputy Minister of Public Security Brigadier General Kongthong Vongvichit said the pardon demonstrates the right and just policies of the Party and state of Laos, especially in implementing the country’s constitution and law in a strict but fair manner.
He said the Party and state have a responsibility to promote the Lao people’s democratic regime and to maintain order in society, with the Party considered as leader, the government as supervisor and the people as owners.
“Under this approach, the national economy has continued to grow, and the livelihoods of Laos’ multi-ethnic people have gradually improved,” he said.
Brig Gen Kongthong said Laos has also boosted its reputation on the international stage due to the Party’s open foreign policy, which is attracting more and more foreign investment.
He said the Party and state have issued many regulations to protect the country and the public, but if people infringe these, they will be punished according to law.
He warned that Laos continues to face many obstacles, while enemies and destructive elements threaten to destabilise the new regime through such anti-social acts as drug dealing, robberies, bags snatchings, murders, violence and illegal trade.
These acts are carried out by people who have not properly absorbed or understood the innovative direction of the Party and state, and are therefore adverse to the Lao people’s democratic regime.
“Prison sentences are necessary to educate culprits so that they accept their guilt in breaking the law and posing a danger to society,” Brig Gen Kongthong said.
However, he said the Party and state have a responsibility to rehabilitate criminal offenders where possible.
“Sentencing is also part of the recovery process for culprits. Those who truly repent their crimes, while behaving well in prison, stand a chance of being pardoned,” he added.
Brig Gen Kongthong said those prisoners who are released after being pardoned should become good citizens and show their love for the democratic regime; contribute to their family’s development by working productively, abiding by the law, and avoiding luxury spending; and actively combat social problems, especially drug dealing and use, thievery, robbery, human trafficking, and other acts which could land them in prison yet again.
Pardoned prisoners should also contribute to national defence and security, and respect the state laws.
He was confident that all the pardoned prisoners would conduct themselves honorably, becoming good citizens of Laos and contributing to national development.