Pardon Reaches Philippine Prisoner Too Late

Posted July 29th, 2011 at 3:50 am (UTC-5)
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A prisoner rights group in the Philippines has criticized President Benigno Aquino for signing a compassionate pardon for an ailing prisoner who had already died.

The rights group Task Force of the Philippines said Friday that 63-year-old Mariano Umbrero died on July 15 from lung cancer, four days before Mr. Aquino signed the pardon that had been intended to allow him to spend his last days at home.

The group, which campaigns for the release of political prisoners and prison reforms, said the release papers had stopped at a bureaucratic red light and did not move until Umbrero had died.

More than 100 alleged political prisoners launched a hunger strike on Monday to demand their release and reforms in the prison system, especially the slow parole process.