Lawmakers in Azerbaijan have approved a mass amnesty bill to mark the first anniversary of a 44-day war with Armenian forces that ended with Baku's regaining control over parts of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven adjacent districts.
Ali Huseynli, deputy chairman of the Milli Maclis (National Assembly), said before lawmakers approved the bill on November 5 that at least 16,000 people will be affected by the clemency act, of which more than 3,000 will be released from penitentiaries.
The prison terms of another 3,000 inmates will be cut, while parole-like sentences and other legal restrictions on thousands of other convicted men and women will be cancelled, Huseynli said.
He added that the mass amnesty was initiated by President Ilham Aliyev.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but had been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.
Last year’s war ended on November 10 when Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian signed a Russian-brokered cease-fire that granted Azerbaijan control of parts of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as adjacent territories occupied by Armenians.
The truce accord negotiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin also led to the deployment of 2,000 Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and the so-called Lacin corridor connecting the territory to Armenia.
Armenia says more than 3,700 Armenians and Nagorno-Karabakh residents died in the war. Azerbaijan said it lost 2,900 people.
Azerbaijani authorities announced that November 8 will be marked each year as the conflict's Victory Day.
Azerbaijani Lawmakers Approve Bill On Mass Amnesty For Day Marking Victory In Karabakh War