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President Zeman grants seventh pardon to ill convict

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Prague, April 4 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman has granted the seventh pardon while in office since 2013, this time to a man suffering from cancer who was convicted of property crime and illegal arms possession, Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told journalists on Tuesday.

Zeman has mostly granted the pardons on account of the convicted persons’ serious health problems.

Last November, Zeman also pardoned a young woman who was looking after a small child in prison who would be separated from the mother at the age of three.

He did so at the request by Pope Francis at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy in 2016.

Ovcacek said the latest convicted man was undergoing a difficult medical treatment. Due to his bad health, a court has suspended his serving of the prison term.

“Zeman took into account the man’s serious oncological illness, due to which he is undergoing immediate, specialised and difficult care,” Ovcacek said.

“He pardoned him the rest of the prison term imposed on him for property crime and illegal arms possession,” Ovcacek said.

Before the early 2013 presidential election, Zeman pledged not to give any pardons, except for strictly defined humanitarian cases.

In November 2013, Zeman passed the power to grant pardons to the Justice Ministry.

Last December, Zeman also pardoned a man suffering from cancer who was convicted of property crime. Ovcacek then said Zeman granted the pardon although the man was “a notorious repeat offender.”

Zeman’s post-communist predecessors, Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus, granted almost 1700 pardons in the years 1993-2013. They either pardoned or changed of a punishment or the halted 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.

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