Prague, Dec 14 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman has pardoned a repeat offender convicted of property crimes who suffers from a serious oncological disease, Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said on Wednesday.
Zaman granted the pardon on Tuesday despite the fact that the ill man was a repeat criminal, Ovcacek added.
“The president has taken a serious oncological disease of the pardoned man, who undergoes a complicated long-term treatment, into consideration and he has pardoned him the rest of the cumulative prison sentence for property crimes,” Ovcacek said.
He added that the court had interrupted his sentence repeatedly due to the serious health condition.
“The president has made this humanitarian gesture even though the convict is a notorious repeat criminal. However, he has also taken the character of the crimes he committed into consideration,” Ovcacek added.
Justice Minister Robert Pelikan submitted the pardon proposal to Zeman.
Zeman, who assumed office in March 2013, has already granted five pardons. Last time, he pardoned two women in November.
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 power to grant pardons to the Justice Ministry in November 2014 since, he said, he considered it “an unnecessary monarchist element” in the constitution.
Zeman set strict criteria for granting pardons, such as a serious illness. All but one of his pardons have met these criteria.
Zeman made the only exception in November to accommodate a request by Pope Francis at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy in 2016. He 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.
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.