Saturday October 16, 2021

Syria’s president declares amnesty as election looms

May 03, 2021

DAMASCUS: Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree on Sunday authorising the release of prisoners, including those convicted for misdemeanours or complicity in acts of "terrorism", state media said.

The so-called general amnesty comes weeks before the May 26 presidential election, the second such polls since the start of the country’s decade-long civil war. Assad is widely expected to secure a fourth term.

Sana news agency published the decree but did not say how many prisoners would benefit. The amnesty stipulates that pardons will be granted to prisoners convicted for crimes committed before May 2, 2021, including those convicted for misdemeanours as well as minors facing certain charges.

The decree includes crimes related to the terrorism act of 2012, including "conspiracy" to commit a "terrorist" act. "Terrorism" is a term used by Damascus to encompass acts carried out by rebels and anti-regime activists. But suspects convicted of "terrorist" acts that led to deaths would not benefit from the amnesty, according to the text of the decree published by the state news agency.