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

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Somaliland: 400 Plus Pardons

It is reported that "over 400 convicts" have "been released by the custodial corps" in Somaliland. The release is "part of the country's 22nd independence anniversary commemorations" and is "an annual activity" undertaken by the president around the time the country regained its sovereignty from Somalia. According to the custodial corps national operations officer, Commander Abdirahman  The prisoners had "light sentences" ranging from 2 years and below. See story here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Italy: Air Force / CIA Operative Pardoned

It is reported that Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has granted a pardon to Col. Joseph L. Romano III, an Air Force officer convicted for his role in the kidnapping of an Islamic cleric. it is also reported that the pardon was the result of President Obama's "decision" to "change the aggressive national security policies pursued by his predecessor in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York." Romano, who was commander of the 31st security Forces Squadron, was said to have been part of a "covert CIA operation." The pardon was also said to have resulted from changes in Italy's penal code, as part of North Atlantic Treaty Organization arrangements. See full story here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pardon for the Really Good Fugitive?

Pete O'Neal was charged in 1970 for "transferring a gun across state lines." It was not his first run in with the law. He had been convicted once for receiving stolen property. O'Neal claims he did not commit the crime, but, instead of facing the charges in the judicial process, he gathered his family together and fled the country in the middle of the night, to Africa. Now, a former Kansas City Star reporter has written a book on his behalf, entitled Case for a Pardon. It is reported that, should O'Neal return to the United States, he would have to serve a four-year sentence. But, the author say O'Neal has done "so much good" as a fugitive. See full story here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Syria: 7,000 Pardons

It is reported that "as many as 7,000 Syrian prisoners will be released under the general amnesty" granted by the president. The amnesty will reduce death penalty to life imprisonment with hard labor, and covers "prisoners with incurable diseases and elders over 70." It also includes "lesser offenses such as theft, forgery, military desertion and other white-collar crimes" but not "political prisoners or those convicted of drug and weapon trafficking."  In addition, the government called on fugitive criminals to "turn themselves in within 30 days after the issuance of the pardon so as to be counted in." See full story here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nigeria: Former President Pardoned

ABC News reports that Nigeria has pardoned former Bayelsa state Gov. Diepreye Alamieyeseigha after "a closed-door meeting" by the Council of State. The result was "immediate outrage across Nigeria." A former police office called the pardon the "final nail that tells the story of fighting corruption in Nigeria today." Alamieyeseigha:
... was arrested in London after more than $1 million in cash was found in his home there. He was then impeached and charged in Nigeria with illegally operating foreign accounts in London, Cyprus, Denmark and the United States. Investigators said he acquired property in Britain and Nigeria worth more than $10 million. The disgraced governor later pleaded guilty.
The pardon was described as a "group decision," although ABC notes under Nigeria's constitution, only the current president (Goodluck Jonathan) has the power to grant it. Doyin Okupe, an adviser to Jonathan, explains the pardon as follows:
"It is like a parent, it is not every decision a parent takes that is palatable or acceptable to the children. But in due course, we always find out the parents were right ... The man has been displaced from his office as governor, he was hounded and tried and jailed. ... What is eminently wrong, you know, in giving a remorseful sinner pardon?"
See story here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

South Korea: 55 Pardons

BBC news reports 55 have been granted in South Korea "according to law and procedure." However, incoming President Park Geun-hye says the pardons "extremely regrettable." The BBC reports South Korean presidents "are constitutionally allowed to issue pardons and often do so to mark national holidays or the end of their terms." And President "issued seven rounds of pardons during his five-year presidency." But, it is also reported that:
Those on the latest list included his close friend Chun Shin-il and a close political ally, Choi See-joong, both of whom had been sentenced for bribery, as well as the former speaker of the national assembly Park Hee-tae and a former aide to Mr Lee, Kim Hyo-jae, who were both jailed over a vote-buying scandal. 
A spokesman for the New Frontier Party, said the pardons "ignore the will of the people and are an abuse of presidential power, and will undoubtedly trigger nationwide condemnation". See BBC report here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tanzania: 3,814 Pardons ! reports the Minister for Home Affairs has announced that NimbiJakaya Kikwete has pardoned 3,814 prisoners "on the occasion of the 51st independence anniversary of the Tanzania Mainland." It is reported that:
Those who have benefited from the presidential clemency include those serving imprisonment terms not exceeding five years and had so far served at least a quarter of the sentence. Others are those suffering from life-threatening diseases such as HIV/Aids, TB and cancer and their conditions are at terminal stage. However, inmates in this category must be approved by a panel of medical experts led by regional or district medical officer to be released. Also pardoned are the elderly above 70 years, but their ages have to be verified by a panel of medical experts led by a regional or district medical officer. The clemency also covers pregnant and lactating women, as well as those with physical and mental disability. 
The pardons do not cover 1) those on death row 2) those serving life terms and 3) those convicted of offences related to "carjacking, destruction of infrastructure, drug trafficking and use or trading in narcotic substances." Also excluded are prisoners convicted of "crimes related to graft, armed robbery or robbery with violence, as well as offences linked to firearms, sexual offences and making school children pregnant."

See story here.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Egypt: 569 Pardons

Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has announced that he intends to pardon 569 criminals to mark the October 6th national holiday. The prisoners will be released from jail after selection by a  committee led by the deputy interior minister for prison affairs.

It is also reported, however, that "such tactics" have "many critics" It is, for exmaple, noted that the president "has failed to fulfil campaign promises to release all people jailed after military trials during the reign of the military council." And they see these prisoners as "more of a priority for release than ordinary prisoners." See full story here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Commutations in Ethiopia

It is reported that the 11-year sentences of reporter Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson (arrested in July of 2011) have been commuted to expire at once. The Swedish journalists were jailed for "assisting an outlawed rebel group." The pardons are actually said to be part of almost 2,000 pardons approved before the death of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The condition of the clemency is that the two must leave the country within 24 hours. See story here.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pardon for an Axe Murderer? Anything New Out There?

The Atlantic is featuring a piece with the witty title, "So I Pardoned an Axe Murderer." The topic involves a recent pardon which we have hesitated to cover to this point. But, now, it seems appropriate to give it some attention. The facts of the case are as follows:
In 2004, a military officer from the majority Shiite nation of Azerbaijan named Ramil Safarov hacked an Armenian counterpart to death with an axe while both were attending a NATO language-training course in Hungary. Murdering a guest of NATO and an officer from a foreign government will probably not go down as a great moment in diplomatic probity. And yet, Hungary last week extradited Safarov back to Azerbaijan, where the president pardoned him for his act of senseless and apparently unwarranted violence. 
There is, of course, a world of political intrigue behind the "bizarre and bloody incident." The Armenian Bar Association has called upon President Obama - who has very little experience with the pardon power - to do something! Indeed, the President has officially announced "deep concern" over the matter. See full Atlantic story here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Watch List: "No" to Pollard Appeal

There may be 75,000 signatures on a petition, but ABC News reports President Obama "slam the door" on any appeal for a commutation of the life sentence given to "Israeli spy" Jonathan Pollard (see our Pardon Watch List here). Jay Carney said, "Our position has not changed, and will not change today. Mr Pollard was convicted of extremely serious crimes." The remarks came as Presidency Obama was about to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres - who is said to be "under pressure" to reject the presidential medal of freedom if clemency is not offered to Pollard. Obama previously rejected a request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to free Pollard. An Israeli petition urging Pollard's release is said to have 75,000 signatures. See story here.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Samoa: 35 Pardons

The government of Samoa has announced it will release 35 prisoners from jail as part of "independence celebrations." Samoa became a German colony in 1899 but New Zealand took control during World War I and the islands became a "mandated territory" under the League of Nations. After World War II, it became a United Nations "trust territory" administered by New Zealand, from which it gained independence in 1962. While Samoa is an independent nation, it is "heavily reliant on aid and tourism, which took a hard hit after the tsunami but which is now flourishing once again." The anniversary celebrations will continue for days to come. See story here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

International: Commutations of Death Sentences

The Malaysian government has commuted the sentence of Basir Omar, Jaliman Salleh and Aldipal Hadanithree three "overseas Filipino workers" who were on death row. Earlier this year, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya called on Sabah Governor and Pardons Board chairman to commute the death sentences of six Filipinos (including these three). Omar's sentence has been commuted to 13 years and seven months. The sentences of Salleh and Hadani were reduced to 15 years imprisonment. See story here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Oh Canada! $631 Mercy

The Star reports that the Conservative government’s "decision to quadruple the cost of getting a criminal pardon has left a backlog of about 22,500 applications and a two-tier system for handling applicants." In February, the fee for a “record suspension” was raised to $631 and "new faster processing times" appear to "only apply to the pricier applications."

Anyone who applied under the old fee ($150) is "being pushed to the bottom of the pile and may wait two years or more." There is another option, however. If they want to, they can "forfeit the $150 already paid and cough up another $631."

 The Conservative government is said to have "pursued a very public crackdown on the whole pardon system."  See story here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tanzania: 2,973 Pardons!

It is reported that President Jakaya Kikwete has pardoned 2,973 prisoners "on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the union between the then Tanganyika and Zanzibar."   The presidential clemency covers convicts "sentenced to less than five years imprisonment who have served at least a quarter of the jail term." Also included were "prisoners suffering from serious diseases like cancer, HIV/Aids and TB currently at a terminal stage" as well as "the elderly above 70-years-old, pregnant women and those who are in jail with their infants, as well as the ones with mental and physical disabilities." The clemency did not include those:

1. sentenced to death, life imprisonment
2. convicted for offences "related to trafficking of narcotic drugs such as cocaine, heroin and marijuana,"
3. convicted for crimes "related to corruption, abuse of office,"
4. convicted of armed robbery and robbery with violence, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition
5. convicted of rape, sodomy and other sexual offences
6. convicted of abduction of school girls or making them pregnant and
7. convicted of preventing children to go to school.
8. convicted of motor vehicle hijacking, theft or destruction of infrastructure
9. regular offenders (recidivist)
10. escapees
11. and those on parole and prisoners who had their sentences partly remitted by the president but still serving the remainder of the term.

See story here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Algeria: 245 Females Pardoned

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has pardoned 245 female prisoners in honor of International Women's Day (March 8). See story here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ecuador: Three Pardons for Libel

The New York Times reports President Rafael Correa has announced that he will "pardon three newspaper executives and a columnist who were sentenced to three years in prison in a libel case." Correa will also remit $42 million in fines levied against the three men and their newspaper, El Universo. According to the Times, "Human-rights" groups have been critical of Correa, who insists that he must battle "media establishment" that is "biased in favor of the wealthy interests that own and control media companies."
See story here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Honduras: Pardon for Bravery

50-year-old Marco Antonio “Shorty” Bonilla has been in prison for 17 years. He was convicted of murder and theft. But now, Honduran president Porfirio Lobo has announced his intention to pardon Bonilla and has ordered his ministers to expedite the release.


Lobo says Bonilla "put himself at incredible risk trying to save lives." Indeed, it is estimated that Bonilla saved as many as 250 prisoners when a fire ripped through Comayagua jail on St Valentine’s Day. 360 other prisoners lost their lives. According to Bonilla, a prison guard threw a set of keys on the ground in his general direction and then fled the scene. He (Bonilla) opened nine separate cells. A witness says Bonilla actually busted the lock off of one of the cells with a nearby bench! See full story here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Czech Pardon Controversy reports state prosecutor Marek Bodlákin has "slammed" President Václav Klaus’ decision to pardon Anna Benešová (former director of the Metropolitan University in Prague), who was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and four-yeare' probation "after being found guilty of embezzling funds from the Metropolitan University in Prague and paying bribes to public officials in order to secure favorable rent, purchase public property at below-market price, and secure other advantages for the university.who was found guilty of embezzlement."

A spokesman says the pardon was granted "on the grounds that she needed to care for her seriously-ill husband and had no previous convictions." But Bodlák says that it "depreciates four years of work by the police, public prosecution service and the court." He also noted Bodlákin “sent her appeal for a pardon to the President back in March 2009, a full year before she was prosecuted.” See full story here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Egypt: 1,959 Pardons!

Reuters reports Egypt's military ruler, Hussein Tantawi, has pardoned 1,959 people "convicted by military courts in the year since President Hosni Mubarak's ouster, including 25 year old activist Michael Nabil whose hunger strike had brought him close to death." It is "unclear" however if any of the detainees have actually been released. One group claims about 12,000 cases have come before the military courts since February and "sentences are often handed out swiftly behind closed doors and without proper legal representation." See story here.

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