38,000 Thai inmates granted amnesty to mark princess' birthday

Some 38,000 inmates will be granted amnesty, while the sentences of 140,000 others will be reduced on condition to mark the occasion of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's 60th birthday tomorrow.

The sentences of members of Pol Lt-General Pongpat Chayapan's criminal network as well as those faced by members of the Suwadi family, including Aphirut and Wanthanee Suwadi, will be reduced for charges other than those related to lese majeste, Corrections Department chief Wittaya Suriyawong told a press conference yesterday.

Under the Royal Decree published on Monday, the sentence of Chalermchai Matchaklam, a former Army officer who was convicted of killing a provincial governor in 2001, will also be reduced, he said.

Chon Buri politician Somchai "Kamnan Poh" Kunplome has also received a five-year reduction in his murder sentence and eight months cut from a case related to him illegally acquiring state land.

He had been handed a 25-year prison term in absentia in March 2012 for allegedly masterminding the murder of political rival Prayoon Sitthichoke in March 2003 and was handed three years and four months in jail for illegally acquiring forest-reserve land in Chon Buri's Khao Mai Kaew district.

Wittaya said those eligible for amnesty were prisoners who have less than a year left in their sentence; those who are well behaved and have less than two years to serve; those above the age of 70; and those above 60 who have less than three years left to serve.

Inmates who are disabled or suffering from serious illnesses, as well as first-time women offenders who are younger than 20 and have served half their jail terms, will also be freed, he said.