PHUKET: As many as five Westerners are expected to be on the list of people to be released from Phuket Provincial Prison in the next couple of days, in accordance with the nationwide amnesty declared to mark HM the King’s 72nd birthday. Exact numbers have yet to be ascertained, but Preeda Nijsiri, commander of Phuket Provincial Prison, said that the royal decree detailing the types of prisoners who may be released should arrive in Phuket tomorrow. “We’re expecting about 150 prisoners to be released on this occasion, most of whom have been jailed for ‘small’ crimes like theft, burglary, and robbery,” Nopporn Rattanawai, Penologist and Chief of the Administrative Department of Phuket Provincial Prison, told the Gazette. There are between 900 and 1,000 prisoners in the Phuket jail. About 200 of these are foreigners, mostly Burmese. There are about 15-20 Westerners, of whom, Khun Nopporn said, about five are likely to walk free thanks to the amnesty. Decisions on just who will be released will be made by a committee which will include the governor of Phuket, the provincial attorney general, and a senior Phuket judge. The committee’s approved list will be forwarded to the Phuket Provincial Court which will issue the release orders. The process, from decisions to final release, is expected to take two weeks to two months.
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