Syria’s President Assad grants “general amnesty”

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has announced a “general amnesty” for all crimes committed to date, state television said.

President Assad has granted a number of general amnesties since the eruption of the crisis four years ago. The fresh pardon comes just days after Assad won the general presidential election by a landslide.

The amnesty commutes sentences with more lenient ones, including commuting the death sentence to life penal labor, life penal labor to 20 years of penal labor, and life in prison to 20 years in prison.

The amnesty also commutes the entire duration of the sentence for convicts with incurable terminal illness, convicts who are 70 or above, and for convicts of several crimes and misdemeanors, including abduction if the abductor frees the victim safely without taking ransom or delivers the victim to the authorities within a month of issuing this decree.

The decree also grants amnesty for foreigners who entered Syria with the purpose of joining a terrorist group or committing a terrorist act if they turn themselves in to the authorities within a month of issuing this decree.

Deserters are also granted full amnesty, both those who are inside Syria and abroad and who are not fugitives from justice. Fugitives wanted for other crimes can also benefit from the amnesty if they turn themselves in within three months.

Earlier this week, media outlets said that at least 400 inmates were released from prisons ahead of the pardon’s issuance.

Syrian authorities previously issued amnesties on May 31 and June 21, 2011. Two other amnesties were announced, on January 15 and April 16, 2013.

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