Prague, March 1 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman granted pardon to a man who killed his wife and son in a traffic accident as his further punishment was excessive and cruel, Presidential Office spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said in a press release on Thursday.
The convicted man was in prison due to endangerment under the influence of addictive substance and negligent homicide.
Ovcacek said the president particularly took pity on the convict’s minor child, who lost his mother and a sibling in the accident.
“He thereby met the pleas and wishes of the other survivors, who have been looking after the minor child during his father’s imprisonment, as well as to the numerous intercessions by people from his place od residence made still during the course of the criminal proceedings,” Ovcacek wrote.
Zeman took into consideration that the accident did not cause injuries or material damage to anyone else. The man was leading an orderly life and went to prison voluntarily. The pardon does not involve the seven-year ban on driving which the courts imposed on him.
Previously, Zeman granted another eight pardons mainly for humanitarian reasons. An exception to the rule, which raised some controversy, was pardoning double contract murderer Jiri Kajinek, who was sentenced for life, after spending 23 years in prison.
Zeman said still before the 2013 presidential election he would not declare amnesties and would not grant pardons with the exception of strictly designated humanitarian cases.
He transferred the agenda of pardons to the Justice Ministry in November 2014, setting strict criteria for their granting, such as a serious illness, against which the ministry is to assess the aplications before presenting the selected ones to him. Most pardons have met these criteria, with the exception of pardoning a young woman who was looking after a small child in prison who would be separated from the mother at the age of three, a pardon he granted at a request by Pope Francis at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy in 2016.w
The current application for pardon was not submitted to him by the ministry, however, as it was granted outside the standard procedure.
Zeman’s post-communist predecessors, Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus, granted almost 1700 pardons in the years 1993-2013. They were either the pardoning or changing of a punishment or the halting of criminal proceedings.
Havel granted 860 pardons in 1993-2002, the biggest number of which was given in 1994 (407).
Klaus granted 412 individual pardons during his two five-year terms (2003-13). He granted the biggest number of them (69) in 2009.
Havel also granted 601 pardons during his term as Czechoslovak president (1989-1992).
The last communist president Gustav Husak granted as many as 2018 pardons in 1988 alone, which was one year before the regime collapsed.