Syrian president announces amnesty for some prisoners

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syrian President Bashar Assad followed his triumph in last week's election by announcing a general amnesty Monday for at least some prisoners, though it was unclear whether the thousands of people jailed for opposing his rule would be included.

A presidential decree publicized by state media said the amnesty would apply to all crimes committed before the June 3 presidential election, but it also suggested that at least some prisoners would merely have their sentences commuted.

State television said the amnesty would not apply to those guilty of "terrorism," a word widely applied to people who have supported the rebellion against Assad's rule, including political opponents.

A report in the official Baath Party newspaper al-Thawra said authorities have prepared a list of 1,000 names of people "who did not commit any terrorist acts."

Human rights groups say tens of thousands of people have vanished into Syrian jails since the revolt against Assad's rule began three years ago.

Syrian president announces amnesty for some prisoners 06/09/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 12:00am]

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