A MOTHER facing prison for stopping her violent ex-husband from seeing their daughter has been given a formal reprieve following an online petition campaign.
María Salmerón, 51, from Sevilla, respected her daughter's wishes when she was 12 not to see her father.
The girl is now 15 and still does not want to see him because of the violence she grew up with and witnessed her mother suffering at his hands.
Her father beat, raped and insulted her mother throughout their marriage.
But the parents were awarded shared custody when they divorced, meaning that by not allowing the father to see his daughter, María was committing a criminal offence.
“It doesn't make sense how a domestic violence victim is facing prison whilst her attacker is a free man,” María complained.
And if she had been forced to go to jail, custody of her daughter would automatically go to the girl's father – against both women's wishes.
Justice minister Rafael Catalá pushed the application for María's formal pardon to the top of the pile, based upon its being 'a case of certain social relevance' – given the huge domestic violence problem in Spain – and because María's entering prison was very imminent.
Catalá said he was not sure whether an acting government was allowed to issue reprieves, but he consulted the Law of Government and the Spanish Constitution and said provisions existed to do so in certain circumstances.
“An acting government is allowed to process a 'standard' legal decision, or one of special emergency, so we have requested a report to find out whether the 'special emergency' category applies to reprieves,” Catalá explained.
María was due to go to a women's jail in Sevilla today (Friday), but her sentence has been swapped for community service.
Ironically, María received a government award less than three months ago for giving her true story as part of a campaign against domestic violence.
PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez, invited by the King to form a government, has expressed his support for María.