#ThrowbackThursday: Life Sentence in Azkaban for Dolores Umbridge
April 7th 1999
Dolores Jane Umbridge (former Head of the Improper Use of Magic Office; former member of the Wizengamot; former Senior Undersecretary to Ministers of Magic Fudge, Scrimgeour, and Thickness; former High Inquisitor and Headmistress of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry; former Head of the disestablished Muggleborn Registration Commission) was sentenced to a life time in Azkaban for her “heinous crimes against children, Muggleborns and humanity in general” yesterday afternoon. This heavy, but unanimous and not entirely unexpected verdict concludes what has been the best publicized trial since that of Barty Crouch Jr. and Bellatrix, Rabastan and Rudolfus Lestrange and was met with public approval and celebration, especially among young witches and wizards.
Prosecutor and Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt (Order of Merlin 1st Class) called the Wizengamot’s decision “a victory for justice and a true sign of repentance and ministerial improvement”. He stated that Umbridge, although never a true Death Eater, has caused more harm than many others by abusing her power in such a “morally twisted, disgusting and conceit way”. Shacklebolt further pointed out, that the conviction of Dolores Umbridge shows that the Ministry has learned from mistakes made after the end of the First War against Him-who-must-not-be-named. “Too many high ranking Ministry Officials who were in line with [You-know-who] the first time, got away scot-free back then.” Shacklebolt said to reporters. “Criminals have no place in the kind of government I plan to lead.” Nearly a year after the fateful Battle of Hogwarts, the Ministry has shrunk to about two thirds its former size, as those who could be proven guilty of abusing their power during You-know-who’s reign were convicted, suspended and in some cases sent to Azkaban. (For more details on Shacklebolt’s cleansing of the Ministry, turn to page 4, column 2)
Umbridge, who was unavailable for comment, was trialled by the full Wizengamot over the span of the last four weeks. The 77 members of the Court reviewed more than a hundred pages of physical evidence and listened to nearly 50 witnesses. Dolores Umbridge had been taken into custody nearly nine months prior and has been awaiting trial ever since while a special taskforce of the Department for Magical Law Enforcement collected statements and evidence and build a case against her.
Among the witnesses called were Hogwarts Headmistress Minerva McGonagall (Order of Merlin 1st Class), Harry Potter (Order of Merlin 1st Class, Trainee Auror), Mafalda Hopkirk (of the Improper Use of Magic Office), and more than 25 Muggleborns who were falsely accused and imprisoned for “stealing magic” by Umbridge and her mock trials.
McGonagall, who gave evidence against the Accused concerning her time as High Inquisitor and temporary Headmistress of Hogwarts, talked in great and horrifying detail about the bigotry, racism and, indeed, physical harm that Umbridge had bestowed upon the students in her “care” during the academic year of 1995-1996. Umbridge had used harsh physical discipline on the students she gave detention to. As outraged parents pointed out once this became public knowledge, physical punishment was outlawed by the International Confederation of Wizards in 1754, after Ashley Islington, a student of the Salem Witches Institute, was left permanently disfigured.
Harry Potter, another star witness, was left “permanently disfigured” by Umbridge as well, though luckily not as severely as Islington. Potter and his classmates were forced by Umbridge to use Bloodquills to write the lines that were set by the sadistic teacher. Bloodquills, quills that are enchanted to use the blood of their user as ink, are of course illegal, and for good reason: Potter and several of his fellow students still bear the scars that they were forced to carve into their own hands.
Despite Umbridge abusing her power and breaking several laws during her time at Hogwarts, she was not sacked from the Ministry by either Fudge or Scrimgeour, nor was she in any way held accountable for her actions. On the contrary: Managing to rise in ranks within the Ministry, Umbridge was ultimately appointed Head of the Muggleborn Registration Commission under imperiused Minister of Magic Pius Thickness in 1997. In this position Umbridge revealed her true colours. Mafalda Hopkirk, a witch of the Improper Use of Magic Office and Stenographer to close than 150 trials, gave evidence to the twisted, corrupt workings of these trials. Umbridge, says Hopkirk, not only knew that the theory of magic getting stolen was completely unfounded, but also “gloated freely” about ordering and aiding Albert Runcorn and subordinates to fake family trees and procure evidence condemning countless Muggleborns to unjust sentences in Azkaban. (More about Albert Runcorn’s ongoing trial on page 3, column 1)
All of these prisoners have famously been released in the afternoon of 2 May and since been issued official apologies and compensations for their sufferings. 25 muggleborn witches and wizards took pride in giving more vital evidence against Dolores Umbridge and more than one stated their grim satisfaction about the turn of events. “I hope the old hag rots there.” One Muggleborn said, while another stated that “they should have left her a couple of Dementors that would only be fair”. As was made public last December, all Dementors have been withdrawn from Azkaban at the beginning of this year. The prison is now being guarded by a mixed taskforce of highly trained members of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and Security Trolls. (Read more about the new safety measures at Azkaban on page 6, column 3)
[Pictured: Court Room 10 of the Ministry of Magic]