United States: A Presidential Pardon of the Unpardonable

Washington

In response to President Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County, who was convicted of contempt of court for failing to obey federal court orders to end the sheriff department's illegal targeting of Latinos, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“President Trump’s pardon shows a profound disrespect for the rule of law, which is the basis of American democracy,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “The president rewarded a former law enforcement officer who deliberately flouted the law by discriminating against Latinos, bragged of mistreating them in custody, and ignored federal court orders aimed at stopping his illegal actions. The president’s pardon sends the message that law enforcement officers and all other public officials can trample the rights of immigrants with impunity, a message wholly at odds with the workings of a democracy. Most presidents have issued pardons to persons who have expressed remorse, served all or part of a prison sentence, or been victims of injustice — standards that this administration has ignored.” 

The United States is rated Free in Freedom in the World 2017, Free in Freedom of the Press 2017, and Free in Freedom on the Net 2016.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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