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Thailand to free 25,000 prisoners

Thai authorities often grant royal pardons on important national occasions to relieve pressure on the dangerously overcrowded jails.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2006 15:55 IST

Thailand will release 25,000 prisoners across the country on Friday in an amnesty to celebrate the king's 60th anniversary on the throne, officials said.

Thai authorities often grant royal pardons on important national occasions to relieve pressure on the dangerously overcrowded jails.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 78, marks his 60th year on the throne Friday as the world's longest-reigning monarch.

"A total of 25,000 prisoners will be released by royal pardon to commemorate the king's anniversary," Nathee Chitsawang, director of the Department of Corrections, said on Thursday.

The prisoners to be released are generally ageing, sick or nearing the end of their jail terms, he said.

Additionally, some prisoners on death row will have their sentences commuted to life in prison, while other prisoners will have their jail terms reduced, he added.

Prison authorities will hold a ceremony at a maximum security prison in the capital Bangkok, where more than 1,600 inmates were to be freed. About 163,000 inmates are currently held across the country in facilities designed for just 100,000.

Another 523 teenagers will be released from the juvenile detention system.

Thailand's biggest-ever amnesty was in 1987, when 37,400 inmates were freed in honour of King Bhumibol's 60th birthday.