Fifteen inmates go free after Easter pardon petitions

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Following a long-established Easter tradition, 15 prisoners serving sentences for various crimes will walk free after being pardoned Friday following petitions from religious brotherhoods across Spain.

17 March 2008

MADRID - Following a long-established Easter tradition, 15 prisoners serving sentences for various crimes will walk free after being pardoned Friday following petitions from religious brotherhoods across Spain.

One petition, however, was denied: the Piedad de Valladolid brotherhood had requested a pardon for a man jailed in Valladolid for stealing a car and forcing the victim to take money out of a cash machine. The Justice Ministry, which oversees the petitions before sending them to the Cabinet, turned this case down following a negative report about the inmate by the High Court.

Traditionally, religious brotherhoods, which are behind all the Semana Santa processions in Spain, may request pardons for prisoners who are serving sentences in their province and who would be eligible for ordinary pardons anyway.

The ritual mimics the pardons granted by Roman governors during Passover, the most famous historical case being that in which Pontius Pilate pardoned the murderer Barabbas over Jesus Christ following the crowd's wishes.

The 15 pardoned prisoners hail from Logroño, Valencia, Burgos, Málaga, Sevilla, Valladolid, León, Zaragoza, Palencia, Santander, Oviedo, Alicante, Málaga and Teruel.

[Copyright El Pais 2008]

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