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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Haiti: Pardons!

The Minister of Justice, Pierre Michel Brunache, has announced that, on the occasion of Christmas and New year, President Joseph Michel Martelly intends to pardon at least ten (10) prisoners in each of the 18 jurisdictions of Haiti. Among those benefiting, will be those who have completed at least 75% of their terms and are in prison for "less serious offenses." See story here.

Venezuela: 141 Pardons

Hugo Chávez has announced Christmas pardons for 100 male and 41 female prisoners. The Venezuelan's El Universal newspaper reports that the leader also proclaimed: "We must help them build a plan for life so they do not fall down again, because many of them have lost their direction." The decision is also notable for the fact that it came just days after Noam Chomsky and another US academics called on Chávez to "correct an injustice" by releasing Maria Lourdes Afiuni. She was, however, not pardoned.
See full story here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cuba: 2,900 Pardons

In a recent speech to lawmakers, Castro announced his country would pardon 2,900 prisoners, among them 86 foreign prisoners from 25 countries. The pardons would recognize an upcoming visit by the Pope and "the generosity and strength of the revolution." The list is said to be "filled" with prisoners who are over 60 years old and/or are "ailing." There are also many "female inmates and young people who don't have long criminal records." On the other hand, those convicted of "murder, espionage or drug trafficking" are not included. See story here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thailand: 155 Pardons 295 Commutations of Sentence

Over 155 inmates were released from Phuket Provincial Prison this morning following a "Royal Pardon" decreed by the King on the occasion of his 84th birthday on December 5. All of them had less than a year left on their sentences and some were provided with money for transportation to their homes, far away. At the release ceremony, a buddhist monk sprinkled "holy water" on the former inmates, who then "joined in a tribute to HM The King."

Meanwhile, inside the prison, it is also reported that the sentences of another 295 inmates have been reduced. But the structure is still overcrowded 2x its design capacity. 80 percent of the inmates are said to be drug offenders. See complete story here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Egypt Announces 334 Pardons on Facebook!

It is reported that the ruling generals of Egypt have announced (on Facebook) the intention to pardon 334 civilians who were sentenced in military tribunals since the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February - a figure that represents about 2 percent of the total number of persons tried under such circumstances. The decision was said to have been made to support "the continued communication with the great Egyptian people and the youth of the revolution." The names of the pardon recipients will be released later. See story here.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Zambia: 673 Pardons!

It is reported that President Sata has pardoned 673 prisoners "serving prison terms for mostly wildlife-related offences as an independence anniversary gesture of goodwill." The President has complained that the government has "respected animals more than human beings" by throwing hundreds of poor Zambians into prisons on "minor offences." The pardon was announced in an address on the eve of the 47th independence anniversary. He also noted, "God gave us animals for us to admire, and not animals to turn against us,”  See full story here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nigeria: 32 Pardons, 10 Commutations of Sentence

Kashim Shettima has granted prerogative of mercy to 42 prisoners as Nigeria celebrates its 51st Independence Anniversary. A press release notes that there is a need to "demonstrate the spirit of patriotism, loyalty, dedication and greatness as a nation." Among those released are some pardoned on grounds of old age, ill health, long term serving prisoners who have stayed in the prison for 10 years and above and have records of good conduct and those who were sentenced to three years and above with less than six months to their release.

In addition, the sentences of other 10 prisoners who have been condemned be commuted to life imprisonment (on compassionate ground). While wishing the released success in their future endeavors, the ruler also urged them to be good ambassadors so that collectively, ‘we shall build a reliable, vibrant and stronger economy and gradually get rid of criminality in Borno State and the country at large.’ See story here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pardon for Journalists?

The Washington Post reports Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "intends to release two Americans who have been jailed on charges of espionage for two years" and by granting them a “unilateral pardon.” Ahmadinejad said he was "helping to arrange for their release in a couple of days so they will be able to return home.” A lawyer representing the hikers says each of them would have to pay $500,000 in bail. Accoriding to the Post:
Bauer, Fattal and Shourd were hiking in the mountains of Iraq’s northern Kurdish region on July 31, 2009, when, according to their families, they strayed across the border by accident. Authorities in Tehran confirmed three days later that the three had been arrested, and an Iranian Arabic-language television network quoted police sources as saying the hikers were “CIA agents.” Bauer and Shourd were free-lance journalists who were living together in Damascus, Syria, where Shourd also taught English and was studying Arabic, friends and relatives said. Fattal is a friend of Bauer’s who was visiting the Middle East to explore his father’s roots in Iraq. All three graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. 
See Post article here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ethiopia: Eight Thousand Plus Pardons!

President Girma Woldegiorgis has approved a Pardon Board’s decision to free 2,620 prisoners in Federal Prison. The decision was prompted, in part, out of consideration for the upcoming Ethiopian New Year. But a spokesman notes pardons are only granted after application and this round of pardons has "taken in to account the repentance exhibited on the part of the prisoners and their likelihood to refrain from similar acts upon their release." In addition, pardons are not being granted to those convicted of "genocide, corruption, terrorism and copyright violations." It is also reported that the South Ethiopia Peoples’ Regional Government has pardoned 5,671 prisoners. See story here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

OPA on Posthumous Pardons and Marcus Garvey

The Jamaica Observer reports that Presidnet Obama has "flatly rejected" a request for a posthumous presidential pardon for "Jamaica's first national hero," Marcus Mosiah Garvey (see our writing on Garvey's story here). The report says Florida-based Jamaican-born attorney Donovan Parker "has been writing to president Obama every week since January requesting a posthumous pardon for Garvey." The Sunday Observer acquired a copy of one such letter as well as the "first ever" reply from the White House."

The reply, actually from White House Pardon Attorney, Ronald Rodgers says:
"It is the general policy of the Department of Justice that requests for posthumous pardons for federal offences not be processed for adjudication. The policy is grounded in the belief that the time of the officials involved in the clemency process is better spent on pardon and commutation requests of living persons.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Want Mercy? Try the Arab Emirates!

The National reports various rulers across the Emirates have pardoned about 250 Pakistani prisoners who can now be "repatriated to their homeland." That's well over 10 times the number of pardons granted by President Obama in three years!

Sheikh Khalifa, the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, alone pardoned 80 prisoners. It is reported that most of the prisoners "had completed most of their sentences for a range of offences including immigration violations, theft, assault, financial crimes and even murder." The longest terms were "for up to 17 years for the most heinous crimes.” See story here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gandhi Assassins: No Mercy

Indian President Pratibha Patil has rejected mercy pleas from three Tamil men who convicted of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi two decades ago. In theory, the ruling paves the way for their execution, but a growing number of people on the Nation's "death row" are not being executed. It is reported that "bureaucratic delays and a shortage of hangmen have contributed to the backlog." Indeed, the last execution in India was in 2004, when a 41-year-old former security guard was hanged for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old schoolgirl. See full story here.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Controversial Support for Mercy

The Guardian reports that the prospect of Ireland electing Europe's first openly gay president "has receded" following the disclosure that senator David Norris "wrote a clemency letter 14 years ago for a former lover who was convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old boy." Indeed, a number of people have resigned from his campaign team and Norris now says his chances of being nominated to go forward in the upcoming election are "slim." On the other hand, public opinion polls have revealed Norris to be "far ahead of any potential rival."

Norris' letter of support was written on Irish parliamentary notepaper and claimed that his friend had been lured into "carefully prepared trap." It also claimed that there never should have been a plea of guilt in the case. See story here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mercy. Too Late!

Monsters and Critics reports that the Philippine president signed a "compassionate pardon" for "an ailing 63-year-old prisoner without realising the convict had already died." In fact, Mariano Umbrero died four days before President Benigno Aquino granted conditional clemency. Human rights groups say the original conviction was politically motivated.

To make matters worse, this would have been the first prisoner Aquino pardoned since he took office in June 2010. See story here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Russian Actress Pardoned

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will pardon Natalia Zakharova who is serving a three-year sentence for setting fire to her ex-husband's apartment when he took away their daughter. Zakharova has been fighting for custody of her daughter for more than 10 years. Because she is suffering from "a number of illnesses," she  appealed Medvedev for pardon. See story here,

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pardoning the Very Worst of the Worst :-)

It is reported that Sri Lanka's President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has given a presidential pardon to one Nuwan Hettiaarachchi, who was convicted of deserting the ranks, when he fled from the Navy. Hettiaarachchi deserted because his hometown rugby club, the Kandy Sports Club, was to have a "crucial rugger" with Navy Sports Club at Nittawela on Saturday. Somehow, the Navy noticed that the "dashing three-wing quarter" was there! In Hettiaarachchi's defense, there appears to be some dispute as to which club holds his current contract See story here.and here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ethiopia: 23 Commutations of Sentence

The Associated Press is reporting that Ethiopia's president has commuted the death sentences of 23 "high-ranking officials." The sentences have instead been reduced to 25 years. Some have already served 20. It is reported that "religious leaders" had "called for" the commutations. See story here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Call for Another FALN Commutation

The Chicago Tribune reports "activists" are calling on President Obama to grant a pardon to 68-year old Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera. In 1999, Bill Clinton granted conditional commutations of sentence, which were accepted by many fellow members of F.A.L.N. But, now, a "national campaign" has been launched to urge President Barack Obama to commute Rivera's sentence. To date, Obama has not granted a single commutation of sentence and is one of the slowest presidents in history to do so.

The Tribune reports Rivera was denied release by the U.S. Parole Commission in February. A statement was also released which indicated the decision was based on "the seriousness of the offenses" as well as "public safety" and  "specific characteristics of the offender.” See story here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pollard on the Table, But Not Among Those Pardoned

It is reported that a "spokesman" for Benjamin Netanyahu claims the Israeli prime minister discussed a possible pardon for spy Jonathan Pollard during the recent meeting in Washington. A "formal request" was sent to the White House "a few months ago."

With some irony, President Obama granted eight pardons on Friday - something he very rarely ever does. But Pollard's name was not among the recipients. See story here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Myanmar: 14,600 Pardons!

Myanmar frees 14,600 prisoners. YANGON: Myanmar is releasing more than 14,600 prisoners under a clemency programme that will include very few of the country's 2,000 plus "political prisoners." For this reason, Human Rights Watch calls the proigramme "pathetic." Prison Department Director General Zaw Win said most of the convicts, including 2,166 women, would be freed Tuesday from jails around the country. Death sentences will be commuted to life in prison and other sentences will be reduced by a single year. See story here.

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