Supreme Court President Esther Hayut (L), President Reuven Rivlin (C), Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (R) at the President's Residence, May 7, 2018.
(photo credit: PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON OFFICE)
In what may be one of her final tasks as justice minister, Ayelet Shaked met on Monday with President Reuven Rivlin to finalize the pardons that were agreed on within the framework of Israel’s 70th anniversary celebrations.
Special consideration was given to soldiers who were first-time offenders and whose crimes were not considered to be serious. In such cases, the slate was wiped clean so that they would not have the shadow of a criminal record hanging over their lives and would therefore be able to pursue any kind of employment for which they had the aptitude and required qualifications.
In this context, 108 cases of criminal records have been expunged, which is approximately three times the number that was deleted in the previous year. Of these, 75 pardons were given to soldiers in combat units.
With regard to civilians, Rivlin has commuted the sentences of 102 prisoners, including 12 whose children were being raised by people other than their parents due to the incarceration of the parent, as well as 18 who are suffering serious illnesses or disabilities.
Thousands of requests for pardons and commuting of sentences were received; a small number still under consideration will be decided within the next few weeks.
The decisions have been made in consultation with the State Prosecutor’s Office, the Public Defense Office, the Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Authority, the Israel Prison Service, the Judicial Authority and the pardons committee, as well as the IDF, led by the chief education officer.
Rivlin said that in defining Israel’s 70th anniversary year as one in which requests for pardons and commutation of sentences were reviewed, with the aim of granting more than in previous years, all those involved had the opportunity to see people who society does not generally pay attention to enough. While the year was one in which Israel could look with pride at her achievements, there was also a need to show compassion for the less fortunate citizens of the country.
Granting pardons was a means of conveying an important message to society, Rivlin said.
Shaked, who has a soft spot for the IDF - and from the very beginning of the 70th anniversary project was interested in finding a way to give imprisoned soldiers a chance to rehabilitate themselves - said that IDF soldiers give the best years of their lives to the country, “and over the past year, we have given ours.”
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