Russian lawmakers have declared a prison amnesty to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
The State Duma, Russia's lower parliament house, approved a law on the amnesty on April 24.
Veterans of World War II, the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and other military conflicts are subject to release from prison or freedom from prosecution, as are mothers of minor handicapped children, pregnant women, single fathers, cancer patients, and people younger than 18.
First-time offenders and suspects will also be released or have the charges against them lifted if the crimes they have been convicted or accused of committing carry maximum sentences of less than five years.
The amnesty will not affect individuals convicted or suspected of murder, violent crimes, terrorism, extremism, abduction, fraud, bribery, crimes against minors, drug-related crimes, and others.
The chairman of the Legislation Committee in the State Duma, Pavel Krasheninnikov, said this week that up to 260,000 convicts and up to 140,000 Russians facing trial will be affected by the amnesty.