President of Israel Reuven Rivlin today, Wednesday, granted the first pardon as part of the special process for those in debt because of fines and who are in financial difficulties because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first request the president acceded to came from a single mother of three children, of whom two have handicaps, who has suffered domestic violence and had outstanding fines from when she was addicted to drugs and engaged in sex work. Today, the applicant is supported with disability benefits and is engaged in long-term rehabilitation.
Because of the need to deal with the implications of the coronavirus pandemic, the applicant’s expenses have grown and debts have mounted. She was in threat of eviction from her home and was forced to rely and donations. The applicant met all the requirements of the special process, and since she had made efforts to pay off her debts and had even made some of the payments, the president decided to cancel the remainder of her debt, totaling thousands of shekels.
Just over a week ago, President Rivlin and Minister of Justice Avi Nissenkorn announced a special pardons process for those in debt because of fines and who are in financial difficulties because of the coronavirus pandemic. The process was drafted by Udit Corinaldi-Sirkis Adv., the legal advisor to Beit HaNasi and by Noch Politis Adv., the head of the pardons department at the Ministry of Justice, in light of the significant financial hardships faced by many since the outbreak of the pandemic. Among other cases are those in debt because of fines imposed in the past and who are in severe financial difficulties because of the coronavirus pandemic and who are finding it difficult to pay their debts now.
The process, an initiative of President Rivlin and the Minister of Justice, is aimed at those in debt in order to make life easier during this crisis period. As part of the process, the use of pardon powers in relation to reducing fines will be wider than usual and will give special consideration to financial difficulties that those in debt are experiencing because of the coronavirus and its economic impact.
It should be noted that this process will not consider applications for reductions in fines imposed for breaking the instructions aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, parking fines and charges and dues outside of the authority of the president. The process applies only to those requests for reduction in fines imposed for criminal or road traffic offenses in the past which have accumulated late fees and where the applicant has made efforts to pay through a payment plan and whose financial situation has worsened because of the coronavirus pandemic.