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Belarusian Lawmakers Approve Mass Amnesty Bill

MINSK -- The lower chamber of the Belarusian parliament, the House of Representatives, has approved a mass amnesty that will apply to 6,000 convicts and individuals under investigation.

The bill, approved unanimously in two readings on June 28, was initiated to mark the 75th anniversary of the country's liberation from the Nazi occupation in a Red Army operation between June-August 1944.

The bill now has to be approved by the upper chamber, the Council of the Republic, before it is signed into law by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Interior Minister Yury Karayeu told lawmakers the amnesty will apply to convicts and suspects younger than 18, pregnant women, single fathers with minor children, handicapped individuals, people with incurable diseases, veterans of military operations, and participants in the clean-up operation after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.

The amnesty will not cover individuals convicted for corruption and illegal drugs.

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