又中又英——pardon forgives

  One of the five demands of the protest movement is an amnesty for people arrested during protests, which began as protests against the government's extradition bill. The protests are no longer about the extradition bill, which has already been withdrawn. People are now protesting for the four remaining demands, including genuine democracy and an amnesty for arrested protesters. Some people have said there should be an amnesty, others have said there should be a pardon. The two words are sometimes intermingled in the English language media. Most people think it's the same thing but the words "amnesty" and "pardon" have very different legal meanings.

  An amnesty usually means a fixed period of time during which people are not punished for committing a particular crime, such as rioting. A pardon used this way means to officially forgive people for committing certain crimes after they have already been found guilty in court. Two legal scholars recently explained the difference between the two words very succinctly, which means briefly but clearly. They said pardon forgives, amnesty forgets. The expression "pardon forgives" means the head of a government can forgive a criminal's crime by pardoning, or forgiving, that person after that person has already been found guilty by the court. The expression "amnesty forgets" means the head of a government can forget the crime of a person by not charging that person.

  Even though the two words have different meanings they are often intermingled, which means mixed together. One of the five demands of the protest movement is an amnesty, not a pardon. The movement wants the government to release the nearly 6,000 protesters who have been arrested so far without taking them to court. They do not want a pardon because that means the arrested people must first be taken to court and found guilty before being released. As chief executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has the power to pardon people who have been found guilty. The government also has the power to grant an amnesty even though Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor insists she does not have that power.

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  示威運動的五大訴求之一,是大赦(amnesty)在示威中被捕的人,也就是從反對政府《引渡條例》而開始的一連串抗議活動。現在抗議行動已不再關乎那已被撤回的《引渡條例》。人們現正爭取其餘的四個訴求,包括真民主,以及大赦(amnesty)被捕示威者。有些人曾說,應該要有大赦(amnesty),但另一些人則說應有特赦(pardon)。這兩個字在英語媒體中有時也會交錯混用(intermingled)。許多人以為它們是同一回事,但其實amnesty和pardon有非常不同的法律含義。

  An amnesty通常是指,在某一特定時間內,人們不會因為違反某一罪行,例如暴動,而被刑事起訴;a pardon在這裏則是指,在人們犯下了某些罪行並已在法庭被定罪後,獲得正式赦免及免除服刑。兩位法律學者最近就非常簡潔地(succinctly)解釋過這兩個字。他們說“pardon forgives, amnesty forgets." 習語pardon forgives即是當犯人被法庭定罪後,一個政府之首可以透過赦免(pardoning),或說原諒,的方式去免除那人的罪責;習語amnesty forgets則是指一個政府之首可以忘卻某人的罪行,就是不起訴那人。雖然這兩個字有不同的意思,它們卻常被混合使用(intermingled)。抗議運動的五大訴求之一,是「罪刑皆赦」的大赦(amnesty),而非「赦刑不赦罪」的特赦(pardon)。社會運動人士要求政府釋放至今近六千位被捕的示威者,撤銷其控罪。

  他們要的不是特赦(pardon),因為這就代表那些被捕人士獲得釋放之前,必須先上法庭及被定罪。身為特首,林鄭月娥有權去特赦(pardon)那些已被定罪的人。政府同樣有權去施行大赦(amnesty),即使林鄭月娥堅持她並沒有這個權力。

中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧

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