Aliaksandr Lukashenka has signed into law a bill providing for an amnesty for certain categories of prisoners on the occasion of Independence Day (July 3). 3,000 prisoners are expected to be freed under the amnesty. As for political prisoners, the act of presidential clemency will not bring about any change for the better to them.
Unlike previous amnesty bills, the legislation grants amnesty to those convicted of economic crimes if they have fully paid compensation for the damage caused by their crimes and may entitle those convicted for corruption crimes to have their prison term reduced by one year.
“Political prisoners” is a special category
The Law on Amnesty lists categories of convicts which can not be amnestied, i.e. sentenced for crimes under Criminal Code Art.293 (Mass riots), 342 (Organisation of actions violating public order or participation in the actions), 367 (slander of the president), 369.3 (Violation of organising or holding mass events). Thus, the convicted under so called “political” articles are to be excepted from the pardon.
“I have already said that: decent people are languishing in prison while we are releasing scoundrels, be it under or not under pressure,” Aliaksandr Lukashenka said, referring to the release of some of his political opponents. Aliaksandr Lukashenka stated in his address to the Belarusian perliament and people on May 8, 2012.
Who has been included in the amnesty?
Several categories of prisoners will be discharged from imprisonment soon, i.e. minors, pregnant women, women and unmarried men who have children of minority age, disabled persons of groups I and II, cancer patients, liquidators of Charnobyl and other nuclear disasters, persons suffered from the disasters, etc. Futhermore, persons committed misdemeanours and crimes which do not pose a threat to public security might be freed from restraint under condition of money damages.