A Seville man who was expected to begin a six-month jail term on Friday for stealing a bicycle in 2008, when he was 18, has been granted a reprieve after a judge temporarily suspended his imprisonment until a higher court can finish reviewing the case.
Nevertheless, a lawyer for defendant Adrián Manuel Moreno said he hoped that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy would grant his client a pardon before the courts could hand down their final ruling.
As time goes by, you realize that some things you did weren’t right”
Adrián Manuel Moreno
Moreno was convicted of stealing a bicycle belonging to Sevici, Seville’s public bike rental service, in 2010. According to the court record, Civil Guard officers arrested him and his then 17-year-old friend when they saw them getting ready to ride off on the bike, which they had reportedly found on the ground in a parking lot one night while waiting for a bus.
His lawyer Ángel Bordas appealed the conviction to the Seville provincial court after arguing that the sentence was far too severe and that his client’s under-age friend had admitted that he was the one responsible for stealing the bike.
Since then, Moreno has collected more than 10,000 signatures in support of him being granted a pardon. Seville City Hall is also backing Moreno, the lawyer said.
“We are hoping that the pardon comes down by next Friday,” Bordas said.
We are hoping that the pardon comes down by next Friday”
Lawyer Ángel Bordas
But Moreno said he is prepared to begin serving time.
“I always place myself in the worst situation so I won’t be caught off guard,” he said. “I think I am going to have to go to jail but I have hopes that justice will be served.”
One judge has already rejected suspending Moreno’s sentence despite the defendant’s personal situation. Moreno has a stable job, an unemployed wife, and an eight-month-old baby and two-year-old son to support.
“I don’t care if I have to go to jail; I can fend for myself,” he said in an interview. “But those who are going to suffer are my wife and children because they will probably have to survive on the streets.”
Moreno’s mother, María Luz Delgado, said it would be “a big blow to the family” if her son had to serve his time.
On June 19, a criminal court in Seville denied the defense’s petition for an alternative sentence other than jail time after arguing that Moreno had committed further offenses.
Following his arrest, Moreno was convicted for breaking and entering and sentenced to 10 months. He was also ordered to perform 32 days of community service for driving on a suspended license.
“As time goes by, you realize that some things you did weren’t right,” he said. “But I still think that the sentence is disproportionate. I never hurt anyone. I have been working for the past two years at a restaurant and I have the support of my bosses who have told me that they will give me a permanent contract once the pardon is handed down.”
English version by Martin Delfín.