Image of Pope Francis: Vatican Pool
Image of Pope Francis: Vatican Pool

Government approves amnesties for young offenders due to Pope’s visit

Council of Ministers upholds tradition of awarding Papal amnesties

The Council of Ministers has approved a draft law today on penalty forgiveness and sentence reduction for young offenders. 

The proposal – which still has to go to Parliament and be promulgated by President Marcelo – has been justified by the visit of the Pope to Lisbon for World Youth Day in August.

Says a statement: “The proposed clemency measures, focused on young people, take place in the framework of the World Youth Day in Portugal, which will be attended by His Holiness Pope Francis, whose testimony of life and pontificate is strongly marked by the exhortation of social reintegration of people in conflict with criminal law.” 

The statement explains that the “diploma establishes a pardon of one year for all prison sentences up to eight years, being additionally fixed a system of amnesty that includes misdemeanours where the maximum fine does not exceed €1,000 and criminal offences where penalty is not higher than one year of imprisonment or 120 days of fine”. 

In other words, young offenders sentenced to prison will have their sentences reduced by one year and fines of up to one thousand euros will be forgiven.

This special regime does not apply to cases where a serious crime has been committed, such as: “crimes of homicide, infanticide, domestic violence, grevious bodily harm, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, kidnapping, crimes against liberty and sexual self-determination, of extortion, discrimination or incitement to hatred and violence, influence trafficking, money laundering or corruption”.

The amnesty will apply to young people between the ages of 16 and 30, and to offences committed until today (Monday June 19).

Papal amnesties are something of a tradition in Portugal, the last one falling in 1991, on the visit to this country of João Paulo II.

Pope Francis last visited Portugal in 2017, but no amnesties were granted on that occasion. 

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