María Sevilla, former president of the Free Childhood association and sentenced to two years and four months in prison for child abduction, is out of prison after the Government granted her a partial pardon at the end of May. Sevilla was released from prison last week after the judge issued an order to suspend the imposed sentence, understanding that the requirements for it were met, as advanced public and has been able to confirm this diary.
At the end of May, the Government granted a partial pardon to María Sevilla, who in October 2020 had been sentenced by a Madrid court to two years and four months in prison for child abduction. In addition, the court disqualified her from exercising parental authority over her son for four years. The Executive decided to commute the sentence for one hundred and eighty days of work for the benefit of the community, “provided that she does not commit a malicious crime again within four years.”
Sevilla was convicted of failing to comply with a sentence that granted custody to the father of her son after remaining unaccounted for with the minor since the beginning of 2017. From the beginning, Sevilla accused the father on several occasions of sexual abuse towards the child and had spent several months waging a court battle. She was arrested in March 2019 on a farm in Villar de Cañas (Cuenca) and after being brought to justice, she was released with charges.
On May 9, the Madrid Prosecutor’s Office was in favor of a partial pardon, a measure that María Sevilla had requested on December 31 to avoid having to go to jail. However, a month later the court refused to suspend her imprisonment for not having repented of the facts.
The Prosecutor’s Office, however, supported the pardon because, although Sevilla had not shown “express and clear” repentance, it had shown “compliance with the law” by having satisfied “the civil responsibilities established in the sentence and voluntarily admitted to the center compliance”.
Last February, a total of 168 feminist groups had demanded an “urgent” and “total” pardon for María Sevilla. The organizations considered that this case is an example of the “policy of withdrawing custody from mothers who defend their sons and daughters in complaints of mistreatment and child sexual abuse 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.”
In addition, in a forceful letter from last December, several UN rapporteurs assured that there is “a discriminatory bias” that “makes the testimony of women be perceived as less credible” and point to the use of the so-called Parental Alienation Syndrome (SAP), by which mothers would come to manipulate their sons and daughters. This theory, discredited by scientific and judicial organizations, has already been vetoed in Spain through the Children’s Law, but the organizations assure that it is still used in the courts.