On June 18th, an agreement signed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF), which will enable the creation of an Amnesty Commission to “coordinate the acts to comply with and monitor the application of the Amnesty Law” approved almost two months ago, as well as to “determine the origin of the benefit and submit its decision to the qualification of a federal judge.”
The Commission will be chaired by the Ministry of the Interior with the participation of the heads of the secretariats of Security and Citizen Protection, Welfare, as well as the national institutes for Women (Inmujeres) and Indigenous Peoples (INPI).
This new body must “resolve the amnesty requests that are presented to it and submit its decision to the appropriate jurisdictional authority, within a period not exceeding four months from the date of submission of the request.” It will operate through sessions that may be in person or distance. The first session in which the Commission will have to define and publish the procedure that the inmates will have to follow to present their request for amnesty will have to take place no later than 72 hours after the agreement comes into force.
The amnesty law was passed quickly, mainly on the grounds of taking pressure off overcrowded prisons and preventing COVID-19 infections. It will exclusively benefit people in prison for minor crimes of the federal jurisdiction who have been accused of abortion, simple robbery, drug crimes if the accused was in a situation of poverty, and inmates from indigenous communities who have not been properly legally advised.
The organization AsiLegal welcomed the publication of the agreement and urged that the corresponding procedures be streamlined so that the first releases can occur soon.
For more information in Spanish:
Crean comisión para aplicar Ley de Amnistía a casi dos meses de su aprobación (Animal Político, 18 de junio de 2020)
AMLO crea Comisión para verificar cumplimiento de la Ley de Amnistía (Milenio, 18 de junio de 2020)
Crean Comisión que resolverá solicitudes de amnistía (El Universal, 18 de junio de 2020)
For more information from SIPAZ:
National: “Due to Cuts and Bureaucracy, Amnesty Law Hasn’t Been Applied to or Benefitted any Prisoner” – Animal Politico (June 17, 2020)
Chiapas: CSOs Denounces Chiapas State Prosecutor’s Office Setting Conditions for Release of Prisoners Entitled to New Amnesty Law (April 28, 2020)
National: Amnesty Law Approved to Stop Spread of Coronavirus in Prisons (April 23, 2020)
National: Calls on Federal and State Authorities to Take Special Measures to Prevent Spread of Coronavirus in Prisons (March 25, 2020)