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Syrian President al-Assad grants general amnesty to all political movements


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Syrian President al-Assad grants general amnesty to all political movements

2011-06-01 04:53:16 GMT+7 (ICT)

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (BNO NEWS) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday issued a decree granting general amnesty to all political movements, the state-run SANA news agency reported.

The Legislative Decree No. 61 granted amnesty for the crimes committed before this day. The general amnesty was issued in an attempt to end the 10 weeks of ant-government protests.

The amnesty was granted to all detainees belonging to political movements including members of Muslim Brotherhood, which led an anti-government rebellion in 1982. At that time, Syria was ruled by Hafez al-Assad, father of the incumbent president.

Under the new decree, prisoners who were sentenced to death penalty will have their punishment replaced with life sentence of hard labor or long imprisonment sentence according to the crime.

The decision was made in response to protesters' demands of releasing political prisoners. In addition, life sentences will be replaced with hard labor and long-life imprisonment sentence with 20 years' imprisonment.

In mid-March, pro-democracy demonstrations began in Syria and have continued across the country, which has been ruled by the Baath Party since 1963. Protesters are demanding the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, who took over his father in 2000.

At least 830 people have been killed in the protests, according to the Syrian Human Rights Information Link. The number, however, does not include security personnel, many of whom have been killed in attacks by "armed groups," according to the Syrian government.

It is also estimated that about 10,000 protesters have been arrested in violent crackdowns by Syrian security forces. The events have been condemned by the international community.

The United States imposed sanctions on President al-Assad and other senior officials that froze any assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction and banned U.S. citizens from doing business with them.

The sanctions also included Vice-President Farouk al-Shara, Prime Minister Adel Safar, Defense Minister Ali Habib, Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, Head of the Military Intelligence Department Gen. Abdul-Fattah Qedssiyeh and Head of the Political Security Department Gen. Mohammad Deeb Zaitoun.

The European Council adopted a regulation that provided for an embargo on exports to Syria of arms and equipment that could be used for internal repression, as well as a visa ban and an assets freeze for 13 persons responsible for the violent repression.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-06-01

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