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Human rights activists propose to grant amnesty to women, elderly people and disabled people

August 01, 2013, 10:57 UTC+3

The amnesty should embrace both members of the Pussy Riot band Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina that have five-year-old children

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The Russian Presidential Council of Human Rights wants to propose to President Vladimir Putin and the State Duma to carry out a next amnesty campaign on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution. The Presidential Council told the Izvestia daily that a working group for making an amnesty act draft was already formed.

The working group will propose to set free pregnant women and mothers of little children, elderly people and disabled people, a member of the working group Maria Kannabikh said. Thus, the amnesty should embrace, for instance, both members of the Pussy Riot band, who were sentenced to two years in prison for the so-called punk prayer at the Christ the Savior Cathedral. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina have five-year-old children.

The amnesty draft does not offer to release from custody those, who committed grave and heinous crimes, Kannabikh said.

The Presidential Council of Human Rights did not say yet how many people can be put under the effect of a next amnesty act. The presidential council hopes to work out all the details by September and only after this voice officially their initiative to the Russian leadership.

The Coordination Opposition Council decided to develop their amnesty draft at the same time, the Izvestia daily noted. The council wants to obtain a release from custody for those, whom they consider as political prisoners. A representative of the liberal forces in the Coordination Opposition Council Sergei Davidis together with a member of the Expert Opposition Council Andrei Gavrilov and a member of the December 5 Party Igor Bukovsky propose to grant an amnesty to people, who were brought to justice on the criminal articles for hooliganism, massive disorders, public appeals to extremist activity, instigation of hatred or strife. According to the members of the Coordination Opposition Council, on these criminal articles “the corpus delicti is determined not on the strength of objective facts, but the assessments of experts and the very court.”

“I believe that on vital issues of the life of the country the opposition council can and should put forth legislative initiatives, in which drastic disagreements are mostly obvious,” Sergei Davidis noted.

The economic amnesty showed that a new amnesty campaign is possible in general, but in a cut variant, First Vice-President of the Centre of Political Technologies Alexei Makarkin believes. “The proposal of the Coordination Opposition Council will hardly be considered in earnest. The amnesty for socially vulnerable strata of society is possible, but it will be taken very cautiously,” Makarkin predicts.

All in all, the amnesty campaign has been carried out 16 times since the time modern Russia was established: five times over the events in the North Caucasus, four times on the occasion of anniversary dates, which are related with the victory in the Great Patriotic War, three times the amnesty was declared for socially vulnerable groups and by one time an economic amnesty and a political amnesty on the occasion of the enactment of the Russian Constitution and the 100th anniversary of Russian cabinet system.

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