Bulgarian Vice President Granted Zero Pardons So Far
Vice President Margarita Popova has not granted a single pardon since the beginning of her term in office.
According to statistics provided in the first public report on the activity of the Pardons Committee, the unit reviewed a total of 200 applications in the period February 23 – March 31, 187 of which were rejected.
All of the 187 negative statements of the Pardons Committee were subsequently confirmed by Popova.
12 of the pardon applications were terminated.
The Pardons Committee took three weeks on average to gather the documents necessary to make a decision.
The Pardons Committee received a total of 583 applications in the said period, 274 of which were inherited from the rule of President Georgi Parvanov and Vice President Angel Marin.
364 applications require additional information that is to be provided by other institutions.
A total of 46 applications concern theft convictions, 40 are for murder convictions, 30 for robbery, 17 for robbery and murder or attempted murder, 9 for fraud and 6 for rape.
Iva Pushkarova, Chair of the Pardons Committee, reminded Monday of the factors influencing the unit's decision-making, including health condition, family status, first/repeat offender and risk of repeat offense.
"Apart from that, the Pardons Committee also takes stock of other options for reducing the penalty of the convicts or for a pre-term release," she added.
She emphasized that the panel was careful not to undermine verdicts handed down by courts or to come up with decisions underestimating the gravity of the offense or contradicting principles of humane treatment or the interests of the victim.
"The institute of pardons does not replace the judiciary and the Vice President is not a court instance. Pardons do not correct the judicial practice. They do not replace the activities of the prosecution or of the administration of the detention facilities. These are four key principles that we observe in our work," Margarita Popova announced Monday.
The issue of pardons drew public attention after the suspicion cast over the practices of former Vice President Angel Marin.
In his ten years in office, Marin signed 49 decrees for full or partial pardons despite the negative statements of the Pardons Committee.
During the two terms in office of President Georgi Parvanov and Vice President Angel Marin, 529 people were granted pardons, among them 232 murder convicts.
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