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Georgian Parliament Adopts Sweeping Amnesty

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili
Lawmakers in Georgia have adopted an amnesty that could result in the release of some 3,500 convicts.

The parliament adopted the measure late on December 21.

In addition, some 5,500 prisoners could see their sentences reduced.

The amnesty establishes a special commission to review each case individually but recommends pardons for those convicted of high treason, taking part in military riots, spying for Russia, robbery, fraud, and theft.

The new government of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili argues that many people convicted on such charges were the victims of political persecution by the party headed by President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Deputies from Saakashvili's United National Movement (ENM) boycotted the parliament session.

A spokesman for Saakashvili declined to say whether the president would sign the amnesty measure into law.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax

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