According to this article an important Romanian politician has apologized to people in jail after being sentenced for office misconduct:

The leader of Romania’s ruling Social Democratic Party vowed Friday to implement new laws that critics say will dilute the fight against corruption — a move that came a day after he got a 3½-year jail sentence for abuse of office.

(..) he apologized to “thousands of Romanians who are in prison for an unconstitutional law, or who are dragged through courts based on a Soviet law.”

This declaration was criticized by many political and civil society actors. Also some jail system representatives argued that only several dozens persons were actually affected by the crime Dragnea was convicted for [citation needed].

Nevertheless, this declaration is strange and I am wondering if there is any recent similar case in Europe or US.

Question: Is there any European leader that apologized to people in jail for a certain law?

  • 3
    I especially like the "based on a Soviet law". Nice way to spin things to one's point of view.
    – user4012
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


One example that comes to mind is the pardon for homosexuals in Great Britain

Thousands of men convicted of offences that once criminalised homosexuality but are no longer on the statute book have been posthumously pardoned under a new law.

A clause in the policing and crime bill, which received royal assent on Tuesday, extends to those who are dead the existing process of purging past criminal records.

The general pardon is modelled on the 2013 royal pardon granted by the Queen to Alan Turing, the mathematician who broke the German Enigma codes during the second world war. He killed himself in 1954, at the age of 41, after his conviction for gross indecency.

Welcoming the legislation, the justice minister Sam Gyimah said: “This is a truly momentous day. We can never undo the hurt caused, but we have apologised and taken action to right these wrongs. I am immensely proud that ‘Turing’s law’ has become a reality under this government.”

At least if you consider the justice minister to be a "leader", but then in a democracy the definition of "leader" should probably include ministers who speak for their government.

While this answers the questions on some "legalistic" level I would like to add as a personal note that at least I myself see little moral equivalency between pardoning gays for being gay, and basically enabling corruption.

  • I'm not sure if this counts as the question as I read it implies people currently in jail
    – user19831
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 20:18
  • +1. Yes, I consider justice minister a political "leader". Your answer shows is a great example, although I was looking for something more similar. I am afraid that such an example might not be easy to find and be forced to agree with those local journalists arguing for "original (creative) democracy" of Romania.
    – Alexei
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 6:53

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