The Madrid Prosecutor's Office has requested a partial pardon for the former president of the Free Childhood association María Sevilla, sentenced to two and a half years in prison for the crime of child abduction. The woman was sentenced in 2020 for failing to comply with a sentence that granted custody to the father of her son, and keeping the minor isolated on a farm in Cuenca and without schooling.
From Juana Rivas to María Sevilla: jurists advocate that convictions for abducting minors include a gender perspective
Sevilla had requested on December 31 the measure of grace before the Ministry of Justice so as not to have to go to jail, but a month later the court refused to suspend his imprisonment for not having repented of the facts.
Sentence, which was confirmed last year by the Provincial Court of Madrid, found that Sevilla traveled with her family on several occasions to hide the whereabouts of her son from the father, whom she accused on several occasions of sexual abuse against the minor, until she was arrested in March 2019 on a farm in Villar de Cañas (Basin). In parallel, she had waged a legal battle for months, but the only complaint that she prospered was filed.
Sevilla was arrested by the Police in March 2019 in the Cuenca town of Villar de Cañas, and after being brought to justice, she was released on charges. The woman had been wanted and captured since September 2018 for failing to comply with the court ruling that granted the father custody of her son.
In the trial, which was held on October 1, the Madrid Prosecutor's Office requested a sentence of three and a half years in prison and another five years of disqualification from parental authority. The private prosecution on behalf of his ex-husband raised the request to four and a half years, while his defense requested free acquittal. Finally, she was sentenced by the court to two years and four months in prison, as well as a sentence of special disqualification from exercising parental authority for four years and compensation of 5,000 euros to the minor's father for non-pecuniary damage.
Now, the Provincial Prosecutor's Office of Madrid has sent to the court that sentenced the former president of Infancia Libre a letter in which it positions itself in favor of granting her a partial pardon. The Public Ministry proposes to reduce the sentence to two years in prison, so that the sentence is suspended and she does not have to go to prison. The Prosecutor's Office argues its decision that it is the first crime for which Seville has received a conviction and adds that the woman "has shown to assume her responsibilities by paying the amount set as civil liability in favor of the injured party, and voluntarily entering a compliance center , thus being at the judicial disposal, and so as not to harm the mother-child relationship with her daughter.”
The Public Ministry affirms that the convicted person, although she has not shown “express and clear” repentance, has shown “compliance with the law” by having satisfied “the civil responsibilities established in the sentence and voluntarily entered a compliance center.”
The Prosecutor's Office states, however, that it does not defend a partial pardon for the contumacy shown by Sevilla by "preventing the relationship between father and son, and ignoring the judicial decisions issued that forced it to facilitate and restore said relationship", to then maintain that a total release from sentence could lead society to encourage support campaigns: "Especially when, as a result of these events and others like them, it seems that civil society is encouraging campaigns such as the so-called "I would do it too", which the press echoes, and which seem to promote similar actions”.
168 feminist organizations requested an “urgent” pardon
The case of María Sevilla has stirred up feminist groups, that three months ago they requested an "urgent pardon" for her, in a case that they compare with that of Juana Rivas. At a press conference in February, in which Seville itself was present, 168 feminist organizations affirmed that a “policy of withdrawing custody from mothers who defend their sons and daughters in complaints of ill-treatment and child sexual abuse weighed on her. by their parents” that “the State has been applying for years”. These women, they assured, "are sentenced with exemplary sentences that include as a punishment their sentence to prison for defending their children against alleged abusers."
Among the groups that have supported the request for pardon, which the woman has already officially filed with the Ministry of Justice, are the Association of Women Jurists Themis, the Federation of Separated and Divorced Women, the Federation of Progressive Women or the Federation of Associations of Women and Minors resilient to gender violence.