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President pardons prisoners

A TOTAL of 753 prisoners have been released from jail following President Ivan Gašparovič’s decision to grant a mass presidential pardon to mark the 20th anniversary of Slovak independence. Though some of those released were quickly re-apprehended after committing further crimes, Police Corps President Tibor Gašpar said that the pardon did not worsen the security situation in Slovakia, the SITA newswire reported.

A TOTAL of 753 prisoners have been released from jail following President Ivan Gašparovič’s decision to grant a mass presidential pardon to mark the 20th anniversary of Slovak independence. Though some of those released were quickly re-apprehended after committing further crimes, Police Corps President Tibor Gašpar said that the pardon did not worsen the security situation in Slovakia, the SITA newswire reported.

“In some way [it] gives people who have violated the law the chance to have their crime forgiven and to integrate into real life,” Justice Ministry State Secretary Monika Jankovská, told a press conference on January 2, as quoted by SITA.

The right of the president to pardon crimes or mitigate punishments imposed by courts during criminal proceedings or to lift a court sentence via what Slovak law refers to as an “amnesty” is granted him by the constitution.

The present pardon affected those who have been sentenced to a maximum of 18 months imprisonment in the lowest-security prisons and those whose sentences have been suspended. The president further decided to pardon citizens of European Union member states who were expelled from Slovakia before August 1, 2004, as well people who committed crimes during mandatory military service or mandatory alternative military service.

Young people sentenced to less than 18 months in prison could also be released, SITA wrote.

On the other hand, the pardon did not apply to those sentenced for the following crimes: those resulting in death, grievous bodily harm or large-scale damage; those that involved neglect of children or threatened an ethical upbringing for young people; drug-trafficking; serving alcoholic beverages to adolescents; and crimes committed under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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