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MOSCOW, December 17. /ITAR-TASS/. The State Duma began debates on a package of amnesty bills at first reading on Tuesday which have declared amnesty on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution.On the agenda are ten alternative amnesty bills, including a principal bill submitted by President Putin on December 9 and the other bills initiated by Duma deputies.
According to an explanatory document attached to the package of the bills, amnesty is to apply to some 25,000 people, including convicts from the most socially vulnerable groups of the population, suspects accused of crimes and people who were earlier acclaimed for their merit to Russia.
On Tuesday the Duma deputies are to approve a concept of the uniform amnesty bill which will come up for second reading on December 18 and is to be officially published, or go into force, before the end of the week.
Declaring amnesty is an act exclusively in the competence of the State Duma.