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10 November 2022, 12:08

Amnesty bill passes second reading in Belarus

MINSK, 10 November (BelTA) – The bill “On amnesty in connection with the Day of People's Unity” passed the second reading at the ninth session of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus of the seventh convocation, BelTA has learned.

The bill was submitted to the House of Representatives by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 3 October. The bill “On amnesty in connection with the Day of People's Unity” was presented at the Oval Hall by Minister of Internal Affairs Ivan Kubrakov.

“Our state has always applied the principle of humanism in relation to persons serving a criminal punishment. The state does not only punish, but also offers an early release for reformed convicts,” the minister said.

According to preliminary estimates, 4,545 people are to be granted relief from various kinds of court-ordered sentences and punitive measures; 1,600 of them will be granted early release from prison (including 10 minors), 500 will be released from open prisons, and 2,445 will be able to get off probation early. In addition, there are plans to reduce the sentence length by one year for 3,950 convicts, of whom 2,500 serve sentences, 350 are in open prisons, 1,100 are on probation.

The bill waives criminal penalties (except for cases specified in the bill) for minors; pregnant women; women and single men who have children under the age of 18 (except for those who committed a crime against a minor); persons who reached the generally established retirement age; disabled people of I and II disability groups; persons with active tuberculosis, cancer, and HIV infection; veterans of foreign wars; persons affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident and other radiation accidents, persons who got injuries (concussions), mutilations, diseases during military service or while performing official duties.

The amnesty shall not apply to persons who have committed serious and particularly serious crimes, certain crimes classified as less serious crimes. Such persons may have their sentences commuted by one year.

The amnesty shall not apply to persons who were amnestied or pardoned in 2019-2022 and who recommitted an intentional crime during the period of outstanding conviction; who, on the day of consideration of the amnesty, have not fully compensated for the harm (damage) caused by the crime, have not paid compensation in the criminal case, income received from entrepreneurial activity carried out without a special permit (license), unlawfully acquired gains, other income obtained by criminal means that are subject to recovery under a sentence that has entered into force, a court decision; who have caused harm to the health of citizens of the Republic of Belarus, foreign citizens and stateless persons and who have not reimbursed the costs of medical assistance to health organizations, other organizations and individual entrepreneurs on the day of awarding the verdict, its entry into force or on the day of consideration of the amnesty.

The amnesty shall not apply to persons who grossly violate the established order of serving a sentence or other measures of criminal responsibility; who recommitted especially dangerous crimes or who have been recognized, in accordance with the established procedure, as especially dangerous recidivists; who were sentenced to life imprisonment; who committed crimes specified in Article 10 of the bill, including terrorist or extremist crimes, crimes related to illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, their precursors and analogues (except for persons who committed such crimes under the age of eighteen); who on the date the law enters into force are on the list of Belarusian citizens, foreign citizens or stateless persons involved in extremist activities or the list of organizations and individuals, including individual entrepreneurs, involved in terrorist activities.

The decision on amnesty will be made individually with respect to each person in question.

The bill determines the order of amnesty execution, including the list of bodies entrusted with its execution. Measures have been defined to ensure its implementation including provision of assistance to amnestied persons with housing and employment, issuance and replacement of identity documents; transfer of minors to parents, guardianship and custody authorities, their placement in orphanages and foster homes, social and educational centers; placement of disabled persons of I and II disability groups and persons of retirement age in special facilities for the elderly and disabled; provision of medical care to persons released from correctional institutions, detention centers, pre-trial detention facilities.

On 21 October the bill was discussed with the participation of the MPs of the House of Representatives, interested state bodies, representatives of public associations, political parties and the public.

“The adoption of this law and its implementation will not entail the allocation of additional funds from the national budget,” added Ivan Kubrakov.

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