Everybody is confused over here as to whether the prisoners are, in fact, scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, and even more so in regards to what will be accomplished in this session.
By law, after handing down a verdict, the options of the court are limited:
1. Sentence: Due to the severity of the crimes with which they have been charged, the court must sentence them to death or life in prison.
2.Pardon : This seems highly unlikely, as a pardon is primarily reserved for individuals (in this case, there are 38 defendants, and the outcome of this trial may also serve as a precedent for other journalists, civil servants and human rights activists imprisoned throughout the country). A pardon would also negate the agreement reached through the recent negotiations, as a pardon does not erase charges from one’s record, thus restricting future civil, family and professional right.
3.Amnesty: According to the penal code, Amnesty “cancels both the indictment and the sentence and bars or discontinues any prosecution from the moment of its proglamation”. Further, “the conviction shall be presumed to be non-existent and the entry deleted from the police record of the offender”
There is speculation that the court will choose the latter, in an attempt to maintain appearances of an independent judicial system and, of course, to demonstrate the magnimity of government…which seems a little ridiculous considering the behind-the-scenes negotiations have already been internationally reported.
I guess we can only wait and see what unfolds. I will do my best to keep you updated.