Posted: Tuesday June 22 2021 3:55 PM
It is likely that after the pardons approved on Tuesday 22 to Catalan politicians in prison, to the president of the government, Pedro Sánchez, no one will remind him of any other pardon measures during his tenure. It does not matter how many, or how, after the historical importance of the measure that your Council of Ministers has just granted.
But this legal mechanism is not, by far, strange among the newspapers and reports that clutter the work tables of the Spanish executive. In what Sánchez has been in Moncloa -second semester of 2018- and until this same Monday, a total of 108 graces have been approved.
The Council of Ministers has so far approved 33 pardon measures in 2021; 28 in 2020; 39 in 2019 and 8 in the second half of 2018, just after the accession of Sánchez to the government after the motion of censure against Mariano Rajoy.
Sánchez has so far granted 33 pardons in 2021; 28 in 2020; 39 in 2019 and 8 in the second half of 2018
Thus, and on the basis of official data provided to laSexta by the Ministry of Justice, it is easy to establish a general pattern: the average pardoned in the legislatures of Pedro Sánchez is a man who has committed a crime against heritage and who still has a remaining sentence of around 3 years in prison.
Pardons, not amnesties
But what is forgiveness? According to the RAE, in the simplest sense of the term, more familiar, pardon is the grace exceptionally granted by the Head of State, by which he completely or partially forgives a sentence or commutes it to a more benign sentence.
Forgiveness has been enshrined in our legislation since the 19th century, notably in the law of June 18, 1870.
This is: an exceptional measure in which the highest authority of the State – in our country, the approval of the King, which is not voluntary, after the approval of the Council of Ministers – forgives the execution of the sentence of a crime, but is not to forget. It is not done as if it did not exist, only criminal liability is admitted.
Precisely, this differentiates it from amnesty: it is neither general – each case is studied in particular – nor the statute of the reduced sentence. The pardoned continues with the antecedents in his judicial file. The process has been included in our legislation since the 19th century, in particular in the law of June 18, 1870.
More men than women
In our country, the number of pardon cases for men in absolute value is much higher than that of women, as is the number of men sentenced compared to women, according to data from the Statistics of convicted adults by final judgment in 2017 and 2018 published by the National Institute of Statistics.
The pardons of men in absolute terms are much higher than those of women, as is the number of men sentenced compared to women.
For example: of the 33 graces this year until this Monday in our country, 12 were women. The trend is maintained in all the prices analyzed by laSexta.
Likewise, there is no correspondence between the number of requests received in one year and the cases resolved during this same period. Quite simply, the more crimes men commit, the more likely they are to be pardoned.
Property crimes: fraud, theft, robbery …
Mainly, Pedro Sánchez granted pardons to prisoners who committed what are called patrimonial crimes. Judicial sources remind this channel that, since they regrouped in 2020, this category includes fraud, fires, against industrial or intellectual property, theft, reception, theft, usurpation, fraud or the scam, among others.
Crimes against heritage include fraud, arson, industrial or intellectual property, theft, receipt, theft, usurpation, fraud or embezzlement
The next type of crime that the current government pardons the most is drug-related. They are challenged against Public Health and designate those who, when committed, cause damage to collective health and, therefore, negatively affect general well-being.
We are talking about drug trafficking and cultivation or adulteration of food and drink, among other things.
In data: in 2020, out of the 28 pardons, 17 had committed crimes against Heritage and 1 against Public Health. In 2019, out of the 39 pardoned, 18 had committed crimes against heritage and 6 against public health.
What crimes does this government not forgive?
Since the second half of 2018, there have been certain types of crimes which, although they have been requested, have never been pardoned by the government of Pedro Sánchez. Of course, cases that targeted crimes against gender violence and domestic violence stand out for example.
Sánchez governments never pardoned crimes of gender-based violence or road safety
But they are not the only ones: the prisoners were not pardoned either during these three years of socialist mandate for having committed crimes against the Public Administration and Justice, the Public Treasury, moral integrity or public order. There were also no pardons related to road safety.
Are pardons obligatory?
Graces are not always granted. This is not a compulsory measure and, being of grace, can be given at will. For example, in the second half of 2019, the Department of Justice did not issue any pardons, although it received 1,862 files.
During the second half of 2019, the Ministry of Justice did not publish any pardons, despite receiving 1,862 files.
We must not forget that at that time the government was in power. However, the temporary situation is not an obstacle to the resolution of these pardon measures. The Clemency and Other Rights Division, corresponding to the undersecretariat of justice of the ministry of the same name, states that “the files relating to the termination agreements for pardon have continued to be resolved”.
Because? To be included in the “ordinary office of public affairs” which corresponds to manage a government in office, in accordance with the provisions of article 21.3 of law 50/1997, of November 27, of the government, they specify.
Pardon in the event of a pandemic
An example that pardons are part of the day-to-day functioning of the justice system is that they continued to be processed during the state of alert. But, of course, of the entire semester of 2020, April was the month with the lowest entry for documentation. The months of March and May follow.
During the alert period, 585 pardon requests were received
Despite the general suspension of the administrative deadlines established in the third additional provision of Royal Decree 463/2020, of March 14, during this period, the processing of requests continued, in accordance with the resolution of the Undersecretariat for Justice of 20 March 2020, issued under the protection of the fourth section of the aforementioned third additional provision of Royal Decree 463/2020 ”, comments the Ministry of Justice.
In this way, they claim, it was possible to continue providing the public service, albeit with a drop in resolution figures that had been maintained since the second half of 2018. Indeed, during the period of the state d alert, 585 applications were pardoned, 479 files and 587 various documents.
How to ask for forgiveness
To initiate the pardon procedures, specify sources of the Ministry of Justice to this channel, the defendant had to be sentenced by a final judgment. It does not matter what type of crime is committed.
A pardon may be requested by the convicted person or by any other person on his behalf, including the sentencing court, the Supreme Court, the public prosecutor, the prison supervisory judge and the Government itself.
To request a pardon, it will be necessary to send a letter to the Minister of Justice or the request form in which must appear all the information relating to the legal case and to the detainee in whose favor the pardon is requested (Court or Tribunal who pronounced the sentence, number of the same, procedure or cause and its number, execution and number).
If the person for whom the pardon is requested has been condemned by more than one court or tribunal, a request must be made for each of the sentences for which the pardon is requested.