Armenian Parliament Approves Amnesty for Prisoners

Armenia's National Assembly votes on the President's proposal

YEREVAN (Arka)—By a vote of 102, Armenia’s parliament on Thursday endorsed president Serzh Sarkisian’s proposal to grant amnesty to a large portion of the country’s prisoners, in what the president attributes to be in honor of the 22nd anniversary of Armenia’s independence. No lawmaker voted against or abstained from voting.

The amnesty applies to persons who were convicted of crimes before September 1, 2013, excluding those convicted of serious crimes such as murder or rape. Persons convicted for a maximum period of three years, persons given probation sentences, or persons whose jail term was postponed will be freed from serving their terms.

The amnesty also applies to persons convicted for a term of up to 3 years, who were awarded first degree disability, persons older than 60 years, those aged under 18, those who have no other criminal record, pregnant women and women with children under the age of 3 years, WWII veterans, and veterans of the Karabakh war. The amnesty applies also to some other categories of criminals. The amnesty will apply to some 1,200 prisoners out of a total of approximately 4,600 in the country’s prisons.

The amnesty will not apply to persons who committed serious crimes, willfully violated the prison regime, committed a second offense in a penitentiary institution, or those who are on the wanted list. Armenia has declared a total of nine such amnesties since independence from the Soviet Union.

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