Showing posts with label International. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International. Show all posts

Monday, March 13, 2017

Egypt: 203 Pardons

The Daily News Egypt reports the presidency "is set to announce the second pardon list of 203 prisoners within hours on Monday." A committee has been "working on the second list for more than two months." All of the 203 prisoners were serving sentences "in cases regarding freedom of expression and publishing crimes."  The majority are also said to be "students and individuals suffering from poor health conditions."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Kenya: 2,747 Commuted Death Sentences

It is reported that Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has commuted the sentences of 2,655 males and 92 females on "death row." He also signed "a pardon warrant" that ordered the release of 102 long-term serving convicts.

Amnesty International praised the move but critics call it "an election tactic" and observe Kenya very rarely ever carries deaths sentence. Indeed, the last execution was in 1987.

It is said, however, that Kenyatta "wants to be seen as a compassionate leader" invoking "the Power of Mercy" under Article 133 of the Constitution, In 2009, former President Mwai Kibaki commuted the sentences of more than 4,000 on death row to life imprisonment.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Abu Dhabi President: 442 Commutations in One Day

President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has ordered the release of 442 prisoners on the occasion of Eid Al Adha. The releases are the result of "the keenness of the UAE President to give the pardoned prisoners a chance to start a new life and alleviate the suffering of their families." See story here.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cyprus: 31 Pardons

From CyprusMail: Thirty-one inmates who were eligible to receive a presidential pardon have been released ahead of Easter, the deputy prison chief Anna Aristotelous said on Monday. The inmates, 21 Cypriots and 10 foreign nationals, were released on Monday, after receiving a presidential pardon for Easter. Among those released, were the two secret service (KYP) officers EleftehriosMouskos and Costas Miamiliotis who were sentenced to six months each in January, after being found guilty of taking bribes in the Dromolaxia land scandal. “They fulfil the criteria,” Aristotelous told the Cyprus Mail. Eligible for pardon, Aristotelous said, were the inmates who have served half their sentence and would have been released by July 31, excluding those convicted for murder, drugs or sex crimes.

Egypt: 859 Pardons. A Tradition of Mercy

From StarAfrica: Egypt’s Interior Ministry said on Monday that it has pardoned 859 prisoners in honour of the 34th anniversary of Sinai Liberation Day.Those pardoned have already served half of their sentences. In March, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi issued a decision to pardon a number of sentenced prisoners on the holiday, which marks the final withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, after 15 years of occupation. Pardoning prisoners is a constitutional prerogative of mercy of the Egyptian president. It is a tradition by the state that usually takes place during official holidays and feasts on the condition that prisoners’ offences do not include violence or attacking public or police properties. A presidential decree was released in January 2015, pardoning those with final sentences. Many debtors have been released on national occasions after their debt was settled by the presidency, or the military.

Vietnam: 357 Pardons. A Humanitarian Tradition

From a Saigon webpage: Authorities of the southern province of Binh Phuoc on April 27 decided to release or reduce the jail terms of 367 prisoners. The move is a part of celebrations for the 41st anniversary of the country’s Reunification Day (April 30) and International Labour Day (May 1). Of the total, 63 are released ahead of time and the remaining 304 received a reduction of their terms. The amnestied prisoners are those who had shown good conduct and received positive habilitation while in prison. The amnesty policy of the Vietnamese Party and State reflects the humanitarian tradition of the Vietnamese nation, which encourages offenders to rehabilitate and become useful member of society.

Philippines: Duterte, Ready to Pardon reports that Philippine presidential frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte "has shocked the political establishment in recent weeks, surging to a clear lead in opinion surveys" via "a campaign full of swear words and promises to end crime by killing tens of thousands of criminals." The 71-year old has also "boasted about running vigilante death squads" while serving as mayor of Davao.

Duterte promises to "eradicate crime nationwide in the first six months of his presidency" and "to pardon soldiers or police officers if they were charged with rights abuses." Or, as he puts it, "I will issue 1,000 pardons a day." Duterte believes the constitution allows him to pardon himself as well, And he promises to do so - if necessary - at the end of his term. "Pardon given to Rodrigo Duterte for the crime of multiple murder, signed Rodrigo Duterte," he has said, to laughing audiences. See story here.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

France: Domestic Abuse Pardon

68 year old Jacqueline Sauvage was married for 47 years to a husband who was a violent alcoholic, "who she said raped and beat her and her three daughters and also abused her son." It is reported that "more than 400,000 people" signed a petition "demanding her release."
In September 10, 2012, the day after her son hanged himself, Sauvage shot her husband three times in the back with a rifle. She was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison in October 2014, which was upheld on appeal in December 2015 as the state rejected her plea of self-defence.
French President Francois Hollande, says that, “In the face of an exceptional human situation" he wants to "make it possible for  to return to her family as soon as possible.”

France24 reports that she has been pardoned.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

610 Pardons

The Himalayan Times reports that President Dr Ram Baran Yadav "has pardoned 610 prisoners" by commuting the remainder of their prison term "on the occasion of the promulgation of the new constitution and the Dashain festival today."

The pardons were recommended by the Council of Ministers and "good conduct" was a factor in the decision making. In addition, it was required that prisoners completed 40 per cent of their sentences and were not convicted of "serious criminal offences." In addition, sentences were remitted for those who were 65 years of age and above. See full story here.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Vanuatu Ahead !

The Guardian has breaking news (here) re the madness that has invaded the 80 island nation of Vanuatu (see our previous post here for background). The president has now revoked pardons for 14 members of parliament - one of whom actually granted the pardon, to himself and the others - while the president was out of the country. The 14 have now been arrested and returned to a correctional facility. They await sentencing - on October 22 - and face a maximum of 10 years in jail.

That's good stuff.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Chaos in Vanuata !!!

In Vanuata (population 250,000 - we all know where that is, right?), 14 members of parliament were recently convicted for accepting cash bribes to vote out Prime Minister Sato Kilman. But ...
Vanuatu has both a prime minister, who serves as head of government, and a president, who serves as head of state. The president, currently Baldwin Lonsdale, has extensive constitutional powers to pardon convicted criminals — he is rather like the American president in that respect. President Lonsdale was visiting Samoa when the convictions came down. Under Vanuatuan law, the speaker of the parliament temporarily assumes the presidency when the president is out of the country. The current speaker, Pipite, happened to be one of the 14 legislators convicted in the bribery scandal. How convenient. Pipite used his temporary powers to pardon himself, Carcasses, and their other 12 co-conspirators. He claimed he was doing this to head off instability. 
A law professor at Auckland University says, however, that Vanuatuan law may "implicitly" grant the president the power to reverse the pardon, especially since the pardons "technically" happened before the trial was finished (the defendants had not yet been sentenced). The Vanuatu's constitution gives the president the power to "pardon, commute, or reduce a sentence" but not vacate the conviction itself. See full story here.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Egypt: Journalists Pardoned

The New York Times reports President Abdel Fattah el­Sisi has pardoned pardoned Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, two imprisoned journalists from the Al Jazeera English news network "as well as dozens of other political prisoners" The Times suggests the pardons "appeared to be part of a customary prisoner release on the eve of the Eid al­Adha holiday." An official statement said they were the result of humanitarian and health reasons “in line with the president’s initiative last December to release detained youth.”

Says the Times:
Since Mr. Sisi led the military takeover of the government more than two years ago, the authorities have systematically rounded up perceived opponents, including Islamists and secular­leaning activists, filling Egypt’s jails.
Amnesty International called the jailing of the journalists “ludicrous." A third Al Jazeera colleague was also in December 2013 for "broadcasting false news" and for "belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement." Says the Times:
But prosecutors never presented any evidence that the journalists had belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood or that they had been engaged in anything other than reporting the news. Rather, their arrests were seen as part of a wider crackdown on free speech and dissent by the military­backed government, as well as a result of Egypt’s feud with Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera and has been the main international supporter of the Brotherhood. The journalists were convicted in their first trial and drew terms of seven to 10 years in prison. In January, Egypt’s highest court ordered a retrial, in what appeared to be an acknowledgment of the many flaws of the first ... But in August, a judge sentenced Mr. Fahmy and Mr. Mohamed to three years in prison, repeating the charge that they had fabricated news reports. 
See full story here.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Cuba: 3,522 Pardons

Yahoo News reports Cuba's government will pardon 3,522 prisoners "as a gesture of goodwill ahead of Pope Francis's visit to the communist island." Among those pardoned are:
... people over 60 years old, younger than 20 years old with no criminal record, the chronically ill, women and foreigners, provided their country of origin vows to repatriate them
An official statement read:
"On the occasion of the visit by His Holiness Pope Francis, the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba (the highest governmental body)... agreed to pardon 3,522 prisoners, chosen due by the nature of the acts for which they were jailed, their behavior in prison, the time of punishment and health concerns," 
Yahoo reports that, on in December 2011, Raul Castro's government "granted a pardon to 2,991 prisoners on the occasion of a visit by pope Benedict" Fidel Castro freed prisoner just after the visit of John Paul II, in January 1998. See full story here,

Monday, May 25, 2015

Guyana: 60 Pardons

It is reported that, David Granger, the President of Guyana is "expected to pardon at least 60 prisoners between the ages of 18 and 25] when Guyana celebrates its 49th anniversary of political independence from Britain."

Dumb? Odd, you say? Unacceptable?

Well, here is what Granger says:
“I believe that young people should be in school, not in jail and I have asked that emphasis be placed on young persons and for petty non-violent offences and sentences of short duration. You have a man in jail for stealing a cellphone, go thy way and sin no more. The offences are really petty. I hope that they get back in school, get to work and get on with their lives. They don’t belong in jail, they belong in school, at home with their families and being happy,” 
Among those who will not be included in the group are those convicted for crimes of violence. See story here.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tunisia: 1,531 Pardons

All reports the President of the Republic "has decided to grant clemency or commute prison sentences for 1,351 offenders; 956 among the latter will be released." That is more acts of mercy than were granted by Obama, W. Bush, Clinton, H.W. Bush and Reagan combined. It is reported that a Pardon Committee" :
applied objective criteria of equal treatment for prisoners, the gravity of the crime or the offence, length of sentence served and the penalty remaining to be executed. Other criteria such as first-time or repeat offender status and good conduct are also determining.
Finally, detainees convicted of "serious crimes" which "impact on society and public order" (terrorist crimes, weapon trafficking and smuggling) were excluded. See story here.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Egypt: 584 Prisoners to be Pardoned

It is reported that President Sisi set "a few criteria" but left the actual "selection" of prisoner to be pardoned in the hands of the interior ministry.  Consequently, Egyptian authorities have announced that 584 prisoners will be released. The decree applies to 1) those who have served 15 years of a life sentence and 2) prisoners who have sentenced to at least 6 months and have served at least half their sentence.

The decree does not apply to 1) those convicted of felonies and misdemeanours that harm the government internally or externally 2) those involved with explosives, weapons and ammunition, drugs, illegal profiteering, and bribes, forgery and obstructing traffic.

It is also said that the pardons were an "attempt" to "keep the public happy on the anniversary of the January 25th revolution. See full story here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Puerto Rican Pardons Factor in Age

On April 22, before the Department of Justice announced the details of President Obama's plan to consider commutations of sentence, we shared our own idea of what factors should be considered in a systematic approach by the Office of the Pardon Attorney (see our post / discussion here).

Among other things, we suggested consideration for prisoners who met basic criteria and were over 65 years of age. This kind of thing is routinely considered in mass clemency around the world and Alejandro García Padilla, the Governor of Puerto Rico, is on the same page.

This week, he signed a law that "could lead to the release of roughly 150 inmates over the age of 60" according to El Vocero. It is also reported that the clemency "applies only to non-violent criminals, and not murderers, rapists, or others considered a danger to society." In addition, inmates over 60 must have completed at least 10 years of their prison sentences, five years for those over 65 years of age.

Sound familiar?

Sure, it does. That is because what President Obama is considering is routinely done around the world! Click on the "International" link on the right pane to see story after story like this. Finally, it is also reported that the clemency decision in Puerto Rico will save the United States "100,000 per year, per inmate, due to the excessive medical costs associated with caring for these individuals."

Again, we believe the president should follow suit. See story here.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Zimbabwe: 2,000 Plus Pardons

It is reported that "more than 2,000" inmates "mostly females and juveniles" are expected to be released from Zimbabwe prisons today. President Mugabe, under the Clemency Order No. 1 of 2014 has granted a remission of the remainder of imprisonments to female prisoners "regardless of the offence committed save for those sentenced to life imprisonment and to death." In addition, a remission of the remaining period of imprisonment has also been granted to "all juvenile prisoners under the age of 18 years serving terms of imprisonment, irrespective of the offences they committed." Remissions were also granted to all terminally ill prisoners "who were unlikely to survive their prison terms irrespective of the offences they committed upon certification by a prison medical officer or a Government medical officer." Finally, those aged 70 years and above will be freed "regardless of the offence committed save for those sentenced to death."

Dep Comm Machingauta said:
"We urge the nation to accept those released, give them a second chance. We don't want them to be stigmatised," 
Prisons in Zibabwe are said to be 12 percent over capacity. See story here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Myanmar: 69 Pardons

It is reported that Myanmar's president has 69 "political prisoners," including two grandsons of a former dictator who were on death row, "as part of a promise to free all such detainees by the end of the year."  The detention of political prisoners in Myanmar is said to have been a "concern of the United States and other Western nations," so a State Department spokeswoman is said to have "welcomed the releases." Read more here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sri Lanka: 700 - 2,000 Pardons

It is reported that 736 persons have been pardoned from 22 jails in Sri Lanka. The release was made in honor of "National Prisoner's Day" and involved  "convicts serving time for minor offences" (like non-payment of fines - as opposed to rape and m,urder).

On the other hand, it is also reported that Sri Lankan prison authorities today have released "over 2,000 prisoners" including those above 70 years of age.

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