King agrees to accept petition for royal pardon of Cambodian prince

PHNOM PENH, May 12 (Xinhua) — Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni has agreed to accept a petition from the Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) for a royal pardon of its president with a jail term of 18 months, NRP official said here on Saturday.     “This is a positive sign from the King for a royal pardon of Prince Norodom Ranariddh,” NRP spokesman Muth Chanthan told Xinhua.

    The King is expected to receive and send the petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen who should then consider a pardon of Ranariddh, he said, adding that the letter bears nearly 200,000 thumb-prints from the prince’s supporters.

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court in March sentenced Ranariddh in absentia to 18 months in jail for breach of trust over the sale of the co-ruling Funcinpec Party’s headquarters in the capital.

    Before and after the sentence was made, he has stayed overseas in order to shun trouble and embarrassment.

    He was ousted as Funcinpec President in October 2006 for neglecting party affairs and being unable to cooperate with, and later established NRP.

    According to law, Ranariddh can’t re-start his political life unless he completes two-thirds of his term or receives a royal pardon from the King.

    Ranariddh once served as First Prime Minister of the Cambodian government and President of the National Assembly of Cambodia.

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