Syria's Assad grants amnesties before presidential election

Syria's state news agency says President Bashar Assad has issued a decree granting amnesty and reducing sentences for several categories of crime committed before May 2

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

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

The decree granted a complete pardon for the punishment for crimes and felonies 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 deserters who turn themselves in within 3 months for those inside the country, and 6 months for those outside the country.

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

The decree did not include an amnesty for the crimes of weapons smuggling, treason, espionage, consorting with the enemy, and terrorism crimes resulting in deaths.

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