Tags: Barack Obama | Iran | obama | clemency | son of sam | trade | swap

Obama's Clemency for Traded Prisoners Carries Unusual Strings

Image: Obama's Clemency for Traded Prisoners Carries Unusual Strings
President Barack Obama (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 Jan 2016 01:21 PM

The Iranian-Americans traded Saturday for Americans held hostage in Iran are heading home after being granted clemency, but President Barack Obama's terms came with many "Son of Sam" conditions attached to keep them from profiting from their crimes.

According to clemency warrants released by the Office of the Pardon Attorney Tuesday, the seven prisoners had to agree not to accept payment from any "book, movie, or other publication or production" about their captivity, and had to agree not to sue the United States government, reports USA Today.

"Son of Sam" laws started in the 1970s because of concerns that New York serial killer David Berkowitz, who signed his letters about his killings "Son of Sam" would become wealthy through a book deal about his crimes.

Pardon experts say that adding the provisions to the seven traded people could raise constitutional questions, as they do not know as a precedence for adding them to clemency conditions for U.S. citizens.

Out of the seven men granted clemency, six hold dual citizenship in Iran and the United States, and had been charged with either evading or attempting to evade the Iran trade embargo. The seventh man is an Iranian who was extradited from Turkey on computer hacking charges.

Other legal scholars, though, say conditional pardons have a long history, including when President Ulysses S. Grant required recipients to relinquish claims against the government, and when President Richard Nixon in 1971 pardoned Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, under the condition that he not work to manage any labor organization. Further, Obama used conditional pardons in 2014 for three Cuban spies traded for American aid worker Alan Gross.

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The Iranian-Americans traded Saturday for Americans held hostage in Iran are heading home after being granted clemency, but President Barack Obama's terms came with many "Son of Sam" conditions attached to keep them from profiting from their crimes.
obama, clemency, son of sam, trade, swap, prisoners
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2016-21-20
Wednesday, 20 Jan 2016 01:21 PM
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