It will depend on the severity of the crimes and length of prison stay
The Federal Pardon Board has issued a new directive mandating the review of pardon requests from prisoners convicted of serious crimes, including terrorism, corruption, rape, and murder involving women or infants.
The directive was created primarily to enhance the process of granting pardons to both federal and regional prisoners, by streamlining the process of filling out pardon petitions and providing the Board with clear and comprehensive information.
The move comes after the previous directive failed to set detailed standards, resulting in confusion among board members and the need for clear information and testimony from institutions and individuals.
Coming into effect at the end of last month, the directive expands the eligibility criteria, allowing prisoners to apply for a pardon based on their good behavior and rehabilitation during their incarceration. However, the decision to grant a pardon will depend on the severity of the crimes and length of prison stay.
The Board’s directive requires the review of pardon requests from prisoners convicted of crimes such as terrorism, corruption, rape, homosexuality, human trafficking, and murder involving women or infants. To be eligible, prisoners must serve half of their sentence and show good behavior and ethics while imprisoned.
Prisoners convicted of smuggling and trafficking of arms, producing and transporting narcotics, and destroying infrastructure can also qualify for pardon if they serve half their prison term and demonstrate good behavior.
The move is seen as a step towards providing a second chance to deserving convicts and offering hope for their reintegration into society.
Pardon and Amnesty Board Office in Ethiopia has made a significant change to the legal framework for pardoning prisoners.
In the past, the Board refused to review pardon petitions from prisoners convicted of certain crimes, including corruption, terrorism, homosexuality, and rape. However, according to Senait Enyew, the head of the Office, these convicts can now submit a request for pardon to the Board if they have served half their sentence.
“Their petition can now be tabled to the Board if they serve half their sentence, but the Board will still take time to investigate and make the final decision,” she said.
Article 28 of the Ethiopian Constitution prohibits pardons for crimes considered to be crimes against humanity, such as genocide, summary execution, torture, and forced disappearances.
“This directive will allow any prisoner, except for those with crimes against humanity, to request a pardon after serving a portion their sentence,” she said.
Prisoners sentenced to 25 years can apply for pardon after serving one third of their sentence. Those sentenced to life imprisonment will be eligible to request a pardon after serving 12 years, while prisoners on death row can apply if they have served 15 years without execution of their death sentence.