refer to the article of Husna Ramjanally which appeared in the issue of Le Mauricien of 2nd February 2019 and wish to add the following. It is a matter of great concern that the three persons mentioned in the said article have been granted remission by the Commission of the Prerogative of Mercy. Let’s take the cases one by one.
i) A person undergoing a term of 18 years imprisonment for rape is set free after serving only part of his sentence? Shortly afterwards, he is involved in a case of larceny and sequestration.
ii) The second case concerns a person found guilty of murder by the Assises Court. He is sentenced to 40 years of penal servitude. However, he obtains presidential pardon after serving only 20 years.
iii) Thirdly, a person found in possession of drugs is also on the list. He even confessed having imported drugs in the past which means that it is not his first offence of this nature.
The following pertinent questions need clarifications.
a) On what grounds has the Commission taken such decisions? Has it taken into consideration the gravity of the offences?
b) Who recommended that the three prisoners should be given presidential pardon and on what criteria?
c) The President could have returned the file and sought further clarifications before giving his approval.
d) Does good conduct in prison automatically give prisoners the right to benefit remission from the Commission? If we follow this logic, then all prisoners falling in this category should be set free.
It is therefore imperative that the Commission reacts to the hue and cry raised by the public, particularly law-abiding citizens. Recently, a member of the opposition party has rightly pointed out that the Commission, which is paid from public funds, has the moral obligation to respond, otherwise it should step down in order to restore credibility to the institution.
Will the relevant authorities act?