Klaus´s presidential amnesty pardons 111,000 people

První skupinky amnestovaných vězňů začaly 3. ledna odpoledne odcházet z věznice v Kuřimi.

published: 17.12.2013, 10:20 | updated: 17.12.2013 13:51:03

Prague - The amnesty that previous Czech president Vaclav Klaus declared on January 1, shortly before his term in office expired, has applied to over 111,000 people, including almost 20,000 who were sentenced to prison, according to the Justice Ministry's statistics released to CTK.

The remaining amnestied people were given suspended sentences, community work and house arrest.

Besides, the prosecution of 265 people has been halted since it lasted too long.

Celkový dopad amnestie, kterou před necelým rokem vyhlásil tehdejší prezident Václav Klaus

The statistics refer to the period from January to the end of September.

These figures are most probably final, deputy justice minister Robert Schuster said.

The amnesty of Klaus (in office 2003-2013) applied to convicts with low suspended or prison sentences and elderly convicts. Besides, it halted criminal prosecution if it had lasted for more than eight years, and if the maximum prison sentence that could be imposed in such cases did not exceed ten years.

This applied to some high-profile corruption and financial fraud cases, which caused a big outcry.

The amnesty has pardoned 111,263 convicts and defendants, including 3057 juvenile ones. Suspended sentences were pardoned to 19,820 people most of whom (18,627) were given up to one-year sentence mainly for petty thefts, obstructing the execution of an official decision and the failure to pay child maintenance.

The Prison Service preciously said some 6,500 convicts had been released over the amnesty. It is apparent that most amnestied convicts have not even started serving their sentences.

Courts have pardoned suspended sentences of 81,133 people, community work in 9660 cases and house arrest in 385 cases on the basis of the amnesty.

Police President Martin Cervicek recently said crime rate had increased by 7 percent over the amnesty in the first ten months of 2013, compared the same period in 2012.

The police registered the highest rise in property crime. Over one-third of the convicts released from prisons are prosecuted again.

At the beginning of the year, the Prison Service estimated to save some 180 million crowns thanks to the amnesty, including food, water and energy costs.

The Prison Service´s costs on the agenda connected with the amnesty, such as overtime work and medical check-ups of the released prisoners, amounted to 4.7 million crowns.

The most criticised past of the amnesty was the abolition article halting criminal prosecution if it lasted for more than eight years as it applied also to several hundred people prosecuted on suspicion of financial crimes in the 1990s.

Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman has filed 19 appellate reviews against halting the prosecution over the amnesty. In eight of the cases people were hiding abroad to escape justice. The Supreme Court met Zeman´s complaint in five cases and is yet to decide on three.

The author of the controversial amnesty is not known yet.

Not only Klaus but also then PM Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) was criticised for the amnesty since he countersigned it without consulting his government on it beforehand .

Necas told then head of his office and current wife Jana Nagyova, accused in a corruption and illegal surveillance case, that he had bartered his signature on the amnesty for Klaus's nodding to his government tax package, Aktualne.cz server reported recently.

Both Necas and Klaus denied such a "barter trade."


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