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Mother seeks Presidential pardon

The mother who was jailed for three months for not giving her husband access to their teenage son has asked for a Presiden-tial Pardon.

The 57-year-old woman wrote a letter, through her lawyer Ludwig Caruana, to President George Abela asking him to issue a pardon as allowed in the Constitution of Malta.

A spokeswoman for the President’s office said he had received the letter and had forwarded it to Justice Minister Chris Said “for his consideration and advice”.

A petition asking for a pardon to be granted is also being circulated and will be presented to the President within the next few days.

The Constitution gives the President the power to “grant to any person concerned in or convicted of any offence a pardon”. The request for the pardon first goes to the Justice Minister and is then referred to Cabinet that advises the President whether or not he should grant it.

Moviment Graffitti is also circulating a petition requesting a Presidential Pardon for the woman. Mary Grace Vella, from the movement, said the petition may be put online over the next few days.

Two weeks ago the appeals court confirmed a magistrate’s decision to sentence the mother to three months’ imprisonment for refusing to grant her ex-husband access to their son on 13 occasions.

Her son, who was 16 at the time, has told The Sunday Times that his mother never told him not to visit his father and he called on the courts to listen to children. He felt his mother did not deserve to be given the harshest punishment allowed by law in such cases.

His father disagreed, telling The Times that his ex-wife deserved what she got as she kept refusing him access to his son out of revenge.

Throughout the court case the mother insisted that she never told her son not to spend time with his father. He was old enough to decide and she did not push him when he did not want to go.

Speaking to The Times from prison on Wednesday – 15 days into her jail term – she said: “I never poisoned my son against his father – I didn’t say good things but neither did I say anything bad.”

On Wednesday night Moviment Graffitti held a vigil outside the prison in Paola to show solidarity with the woman.

Those who attended called for a pardon and urged the Government not to fire the woman, a teacher at a state school, once she gets out of prison.

Questions were sent to the Education Ministry on this point but the reply was that the issue fell under the Public Service Commission. The Times is waiting for replies from the Commission.

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