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Syrian Assad grants amnesties ahead of presidential election

Syrian state news agency says President Bashar Assad issued a decree granting amnesty and reducing sentences for various categories of crimes committed before May 2

DAMASCUS, Syria – Syrian President Bashar Assad issued a decree on Sunday granting amnesty and reducing sentences for various categories of crimes committed before May 2, state news agency SANA said.

SANA did not give a reason for the amnesty, but it came days before Muslims celebrated Eid el-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It also comes before the May 26 presidential election, which Assad is likely to win for a fourth seven-year term.

Since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011, Assad has granted similar amnesties, the last of which came in September 2019. The conflict killed half a million people and displaced half the country’s population before the war, including more than 5 million who are refugees abroad.

SANA described Sunday’s presidential decree as “the most comprehensive amnesty decree for perpetrators of crimes, misdemeanors and crimes.”

The decree granted full pardon for punishment for crimes and crimes, including smuggling, drug abuse and foreign currency trading.

It also covers kidnappings, provided that the kidnapped person was released before the date of the amnesty safe and sound.

The decree also allowed a general amnesty for military defectors who surrender in 3 months for those inside the country and 6 months for those outside the country.

The decree reduced the death penalty to life imprisonment for forced labor, and life imprisonment for forced labor for temporary forced labor for a period of 20 years.

The decree did not include amnesty for the crimes of arms smuggling, treason, espionage, association with the enemy and terrorism crimes that resulted in deaths.

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