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How Do I Get A Pardon In Canada?

www.ethiomedia.com www.freebirtukan.org Does the world need another Martyr? The Case of Birtukan Mideksa Written by Chris Flaherty On December 28 2008, Birtukan Mideksa was arrested again and imprisoned to serve a life sentence after the pardon granted to her in 2007 was revoked. Medeksa was among more than 100 people jailed for offences after allegations of fraud took hold of the Ethiopian election in 2005. The Ethiopian government claimed that her pardon was conditional on “an apology for her crimes.” Today, the 36yr old court judge and mother appears to be gradually elevating to martyrdom status alone in her prison cell — much the same way Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma has. In May of 2005 the Ethiopian government shot and killed 193 unarmed protesters after a much contested national election. In addition, thousands around the country were rounded up and sent to prison. The press was virtually shut down and many journalists were forced to go into hiding or risk the possibility of suffering horrific consequences at the hands of government security forces. The effect on the population has been devastating. Since the government crackdown Ethiopians have been living in fear of a regime that has demonstrated it will stop at nothing to maintain power, including murdering its own citizens. The next Ethiopian national election is rapidly approaching and will be held next May. As a filmmaker and a strong supporter of human rights and democracy, I tried my best to reveal the

So how do you get a pardon in Canada?

I am asked this question virtually everyday by people I meet, or visitors to my blog, when I tell them that I work with Express Pardons to help clear criminal records for our clients.

Not many people know, but over three million Canadians have a criminal record of some form or another. Thats a lot of criminal records. Whether it is a theft, assault, or drinking and driving offence, about one in every ten Canadians have a criminal record.

Think about that for a second. If you know ten people, chances are one of them has a criminal offence in their past. If you have a record, you are certainly not alone!

So how exactly do you get a pardon? Fortunately, the Canadian government, in its occasional wisdom, saw fit to create a section in the Criminal Code which allows the federal government to issue a pardon for any Canadian that has demonstrated they are of good character and remain law-abiding citizens (shown they are not likely to re-offend) for a certain number of years since their last offence. In other words, if it has been three years since your last minor offence, or 5 years since a more serious offence, you are eligible to be considered for a pardon.

The process of obtaining a pardon can be complex (imagine doing a complicated tax return, which takes up to 8 months or more to complete) but it can be done.

The first thing you need to consider is whether you want to do it own your own, or have it done professionally. Many Canadians do apply for a pardon on their own. This is often encouraged by local police, particularly in light of the exorbitant fees charged by some pardon service companies and lawyers. Unfortunately, they are statistically much less likely to succeed. Many applications are rejected by the Pardons Board because they are incomplete or incorrectly prepared. Also, many individuals who attempted to complete the application on their own never end up finishing the process. I know because they are now some of our clients. It’s easy to forget the paperwork on top of your fridge for months at a time, and by the time you return to the work, it has already expired and you must start over.

The advantage of a professional service is really two-fold. One, they can do it much faster, as they already have the contacts and knowledge of the process to streamline your application. Two, because of their experience, they can usually guarantee it. Plus, they do the work for you. Depending on how much you value your own time, lets say /hr, you will be spending more money in your own time then you would be spending on one of the lower cost pardon service providers such as Express Pardons. Essentially, you can hire a professional service to guarantee your pardon for as little as 5.

Of course, if you simply don’t have any money to have your file professionally prepared, then you don’t have much choice but to do it own your own. This is a problem for a number of people who require a pardon, since they are out of work because of their criminal record. It’s a vicious circle: can’t get a job without a pardon, can’t

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