3:13 pm - Friday December 16, 1594

20,000 could be pardoned under Russian amnesty

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Moscow – About 20,000 people could be granted amnesty to mark the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution, the head of the country’s Human Rights Council said Tuesday.

“Those 20,000 include (people) sentenced to punishments other than prison and (those) sent! enced to prison terms,” the Interfax news agency quoted Mikhail Fedotov! as saying, Xinhua reported.

According to Fedotov, amnesty will be applied to people who committed crimes before they turned 16, women with non-adult children and those older than 55, men over 60, disabled people, servicemen and policemen, people who have participated in military operations, and others.

Only those sentenced to suspended terms and prison terms less than five years will be pardoned, he said.

Still, Fedotov described the amnesty as “wide enough”. He initially estimated the number of pardoned convicts at about 100,000.

President Vladimir Putin Monday submitted a bill on amnesty drafted by Fedotov to the state Duma, or the lower house of parliament. Under Article 103 of the constitution, the state Duma has the exclusive right to declare amnesty.

Russia celebrates Constitution Day Dec 12.

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