SYRIA: PRESIDENT AL-ASSAD GRANTS GENERAL AMNESTY FOR CRIMES COMMITTED BEFORE OCTOBER 23, 2012
|Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
October 23, 2012: President Bashar al-Assad issued the legislative decree No. 71 for 2012 stipulating for granting a general amnesty for the crimes committed before October 23, 2012.
The decree replaces death penalty with life sentence of hard labor or long imprisonment sentence according to the crime.
It also replaces life sentence of hard labor with 20 years imprisonment with hard labor, and it replaces the life imprisonment sentence with 20 years imprisonment.
The decree grants amnesty for the whole of life and permanent sentence for people with incurable diseases and the whole permanent sentence for people who completed seventy years of age by the issuance of the decree.
It also includes the whole life sentence for those who completed seventy years of age providing that the crime had been committed before they were sixty.
Crimes of smuggling weapons and drug trafficking are excluded from the provision of this decree.
The decree's terms don't include the fugitives from justice unless they turn themselves in within 30 days for internal flight.
Minister of Justice, Najm Ahmad al-Ahmad, described in a statement to SANA Legislative Decree No. 71 as 'the most inclusive' in the history of the Syrian Arab Republic, saying it came in the framework of social tolerance, national unity and the requirements of co-existence.
He highlighted the coinciding of the issuance of the Decree with the upcoming occasion of Eid al-Adha, stressing that this Decree is a step in a related series announced by President Bashhar al-Assad on several occasions.
The Minister noted that the Decree gives an opportunityÂ for fugitives and wanted persons toÂ have their situation settled, hoping that this will be a chance to come back to society with a new spirit where everybody contributes to building the homeland and consolidating the bonds of national unity and enhancing social security and stability.
For its part, the Syrian opposition dismissed the decision as a sham, dpa news agency reported.
"This is not a real amnesty. He (al-Assad) releases 100 prisoners and detains 500 others," Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told dpa. (Sources: SANA, 23/10/2012)