December 7, 2012
President Choummaly Sayasone has granted pardons and sentence reductions to 517 prisoners across the country to mark the 37th anniversary of National Day (December 2, 1975 – December 2, 2012).
A presidential decree was issued on November 23 to formalise the move. Pardons and sentence reductions were extended to the prisoners, including 82 women and 21 foreigners, for good behaviour during their incarceration.
Of the total, 35 prisoners including five foreigners will be freed, while the rest will have their sentences reduced, encouraging them to maintain their good behaviour, according to the Pasaxon newspaper.
The presidential decree specified three categories detailing the pardon and reduction of penalty terms.
Along with the 35 prisoners to be freed, 12 prisoners including one female who were previously sentenced to life in prison will now have their sentences reduced to 20 years.
Some 470 other prisoners will also have their sentences reduced, the newspaper said, but did not elaborate on the details.
The president normally rew ards those prisoners who have performed well by reducing their penalty terms or setting them free to mark National Day – a day described by the government as the day that the Lao people achieved full liberation and became the true owners of the country.
The annual pardons and sentence reductions are handed out to give troublemakers a second chance and encourage them to repent and become good citizens.