Can political prisoners count on release under amnesty?

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On April 21, it became known that the parliament was expected to review a bill on amnesty in 2014. However, the national legal portal has not yet published the document. But the press service of President Lukashenka said that this year’s amnesty would not apply to persons who have committed grave crimes and did not fulfilled the conditions stipulated by the draft law for exemption from criminal liability and punishment.

Deputy Chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Valiantsin Stefanovich says that the previous laws on amnesty treated this as a violation of the correctional facility’s rules, and uncompensated debts to the state.

Can political prisoners count on an early release under the amnesty? Human rights defender says most of them were convicted of serious crimes, so Eduard Lobau and the anarchists are unlikely to be pardoned this year. Andrei Haidukou’s term expires on May 8.

Theoretically, the amnesty can be applied to Vasil Parfiankou, who has not yet received the status of an offender. Meanwhile, Ales Bialiatski has this status, and amnesty could not be applied to him in 2012.

“On the other hand, it is the administration of the colony that imposes penalties on prisoners. And it may at any time cancel them. Therefore, if there is political will of the country’s leader to release Bialiatski, amnesty can be applied to him,” says the human rights defender.

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