Saturday, 19 April 2014

Over 6,000 inmates leave prisons within presidential amnesty

ČTK |
7 January 2013

Prague, Jan 6 (CTK) - Czech prisons have already released 6069 inmates as of Sunday within the amnesty that the outgoing President Vaclav Klaus declared on New Year and that took effect on January 2, the Prison Service announced on its website.

The release procedures have not been accompanied by any serious problems.

Some 7000 prisoners are to leave prisons, according to estimates.

All prisoners who are subject to the amnesty have already been released from the largest Czech prison in Plzen-Bory, west Bohemia. Only 250 from the total of 1460 inmates left the facility since primarily perpetrators of serious crimes are sent there.

According to the police, the released prisoners committed 66 crimes and misdemeanors after they left prisons.

Klaus announced the partial amnesty in his New Year's speech on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Czech Republic.

It applies to convicts with low suspended or prison sentences, elderly convicts and also suspects whose criminal proceedings have lasted for more than eight years. The prosecution is halted if the maximum prison sentence that can be imposed in such cases does not exceed ten years.

The amnesty will concern some 32,000 people, according to the Justice Ministry's estimates.

Apart from convicts in prison, the amnesty will touch those sentenced to house arrest and community works as well as 14,500 people with suspended sentences.

The amnesty has been sharply criticised mainly because it halted the criminal proceedings in some closely watched cases of serious financial crime and corruption.

However, Klaus's secretary Ladislav Jakl said Sunday the amnesty cannot be applied in big corruption cases as perpetrators of serious corruption would face up to 12 years in prison, while the presidential amnesty applied to the sentence level of up to ten years, Jakl explained.

Next week, the Constitutional Court (US) may receive a proposal from a group of senators for the abolition of part of the amnesty, senator Alena Dernerova (for Severocesi.cz group) told CTK Sunday. At least 17 senators across the political spectrum have promised to sign the proposal, she said.

The complaint against the amnesty prepared by lawyers Milan Hulik and Hana Marvanova is based on the premise that the amnesty would prevent the injured parties from laying their claims.

Aktualne.cz reports that the Prague City State Attorney's Office is dealing with a criminal complaint in connection with the amnesty.

Some of the released prisoners violated law soon after they left prison.

From Thursday to Saturday, the police registered 36 crimes and 30 misdemeanours committed by the released prisoners, according to the police website.

"Over a half of the cases concerned property crimes," Police Presidium spokeswoman Zuzana Souckova said.

Some of the pardoned convicts were also detained over brawls.

Alena Maresova, researcher from the Criminology and Social Prevention Institute, estimated that about a half of the released convicts would end up behind bars again.

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