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Mexico: Government Promulgates Federal Penal Reform on Pardons

(Nov. 8, 2013) The Mexican government recently promulgated a decree adding a new article to the Federal Penal Code. Article 97 Bis provides that the Mexican President may, exceptionally, by his own initiative or at the request of one of the chambers of the federal Congress, grant a pardon (indulto) for any federal or common crime in the Federal District (Mexico City), if there are strong indications that the human rights of the condemned person have been seriously violated. The President may do so after receiving an opinion from the agency responsible for executing the sanction to the effect that the condemned person is not a danger to peace and public safety. The President must explain the reasons and grounds for granting the pardon, and the federal executive branch of the government must ensure that the condemned person had previously exhausted all domestic remedies. (Decreto por el que se Adiciona un Artículo 97 Bis al Código Penal Federal, DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA FEDERACIÓN (DOF) (Oct. 30, 2013).)

The following day, the Mexican President promulgated a decree granting a pardon and immediate release to Alberto Patishtán Gómez for the crimes for which he had been condemned in 2002. (Parte Resolutiva del Decreto por el que se Concede el Indulto a Alberto Patishtán Gómez, DOF (Oct. 31, 2013).)

The Secretary of the Interior, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, announced the pardon of Patishtán Gómez, a rural teacher who had been condemned in the state of Chiapas to 60 years of imprisonment in 1992 on charges of homicide perpetrated against seven police officers, theft, and possession of firearms for exclusive use by the Army. Osorio Chong said that Patishtán Gómez’s human rights had been violated, that he was not given due process, and that the reform of the Federal Penal Code allowed President Enrique Peña Nieto to pardon him and grant him unrestricted freedom. (Fernando Ramírez de Aguilar L., Otorgan Indulto y Ordenan Libertad Inmediata a Alberto Patishtán, EL FINANCIERO (Oct. 31, 2013).)