Thursday, July 15, 2010

Russia: 16 Pardons

Julia Ioffa of the Washington Post has an excellent piece in the Washington Post which informs us that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev granted 16 pardons in addition to the 4 that were granted to Russians accused of spying for the West and exchanged for 10 spies in the United States last week. Ioffa describes the 16 as mostly "obscure petty criminals or corrupt local officials." The article adds:
This group had little in common with the Russian intelligence officers accused of selling state secrets to the CIA, and that might have been the point. Pardoning the seemingly random convicts along with the higher-profile group seemed to be an important tactical maneuver by the Kremlin to play down the spy incident and deflect accusations that the law was being applied selectively.

"This was the president showing that he is ready to pardon not only under extraordinary circumstances but is also willing to exercise his constitutional power," said Alexey Makarkin, a political analyst with the Center for Political Technologies. "It was designed to show that any Russian can count on this option, not just a person for whom the U.S. asks."
Article 71 of the Russian constitution grants the president has the power to pardon citizens who appeal to him. Boris Yeltsin employed a panel of "rights activists and independent lawyers" to recommended cases for clemency and granted about 50,000 such requests. But  Vladimir Putin abandoned the use of the panel in 2001.

According to the story, pardons continue to be granted, But they are generally given to people who "have admitted guilt, served most of their sentence, exhibited good behavior or are somehow exceptional -- a mother of many children, say, or a veteran."  Lev Ponomaryov, a human rights activist says, "This is done on a regular basis. It is a necessary and important practice."

By our count, Medvedev has pardoned almost 60 people. To date, President Obama has yet to grant a single pardon or commutation of sentence. See complete Washington Post story here.

Medvedev Pardons:
16 pardons
4 pardons
21 pardons
16 pardons

No comments:

blogger templates | Make Money Online