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Human rights activists demand amnesty for protesters prosecuted for Bolotnaya square rally

December 11, 2013, 16:07 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russian human rights activists have turned over more than 20,000 signatures to the State Duma
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© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Karpov

MOSCOW, December 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian human rights activists have turned over more than 20,000 signatures to the State Duma on Wednesday in support of broad amnesty promised to convicts, including the protesters under prosecution in connection with violence at an opposition rally on Bolotnaya square last year.

One of the initiators of the signature campaign, Lyudmila Alekseyeva, who heads the Moscow Helsinki group, told journalists that the signatures were contributed by citizens who believe that broad amnesty was needed which should apply to political prisoners, including the protesters detained in connection with violence at an opposition rally in Bolotnaya square.

"These are "live" signatures which were collected in city streets. People had been giving their signatures, leaving their passport data," Alekseyeva said. Activists of the May 6 Committee, RPR- PARNAS party and other organizations of the opposition collected the signatures near metro stations and in other places in Moscow; a total of 20,658 signatures have been collected, member of the Committee of Protest Acts Sergei Tsarkov told Itar-Tass.

The human rights activists turned over the signatures to MP Dmitry Gudkov (the Just Russia faction).

A draft bill on amnesty was submitted to the Duma by President Putin. The bill grants amnesty to about 25,000 people in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution. The Duma will vote for the bill by December 21.

According to the bill, amnesty will apply to women with young children, war veterans and first -time offenders who have not committed violent crimes and have been sentenced to no more than five years in prison. But, convicts responsible for violent crimes in which physical force was used and which posed threat to society are not subject to amnesty.

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