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Amnesty Law enforced

By Messenger Staff
Monday, January 14
Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili signed the Law on Amnesty that was previously vetoed by President Mikheil Saakashvili. If he wanted to sign the Amnesty Law the President should have done it before January 12th. His decision not to sign the law could have been predicted because by signing it, Saakashvili would have confirmed the presence of political prisoners in Georgian prisons which he and his administration already denied.

This fact further deepened the confrontation between the old and new administration. Representatives of the former ruling United National Movement (UNM) accuse the current leadership of the Georgian Dream in pro-Russian sentiments and attempts to increase the crime rate in the country.

On December 27, 2012, parliament adopted the final law on amnesty. It was done without the support of the opposition and the ruling power managed to accumulate 91 votes for that. However, this required the president’s consent. President Saakashvili officially stated that he would not sign the law. The major protest by Saakashvili was about the confirmation of 190 political prisoners in the country. He categorically denied this fact, calling the amnesty Russia’s direct order.

Eventually, the president’s veto was overcome and was sent to him for final signature. But he again refused to sign it. On January 12, the Parliamentary Chairman signed the Amnesty Law and entered it into force.

On January 13, 190 people from the list of political prisoners left prisons, while the rest of the amnestied inmates will be leaving the penitentiary facilities gradually over the next two months. More than 3, 000 inmates will be released in total. The rest of the detainees will have their sentences shortened. However, the amnesty did not affect those who were sentenced to life imprisonment.

All officials and the Interior Ministry in particular have warned the inmates not to commit illegal actions after their release. The former ruling party representatives condemn the Georgian Dream for this step and have predicted a very severe situation– an increase of criminal activities and the surrender to Russian pressure.