Russia is preparing an amnesty to mark the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution. The State Duma lower house of Russian parliament is debating several variants of the amnesty. The Russian Presidential Council of Human Rights is also preparing its variant on the instructions from the president.
On September 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the presidential council to prepare an act of amnesty, Izvestia daily recalled. The human rights activists included pregnant women and women with little children, elderly people and disabled people in the preliminary act of the amnesty.
If the State Duma approves an act of amnesty, which the presidential council had drafted, 26,450 people may be released from custody, the daily reported with the reference to the information of the Federal Penitentiary Service. As many as 2,092 women and 24,358 disabled people are among them.
Lawmaker from United Russia Rafael Mardanshin called the number of women, who can be released under amnesty, little. “But even if just several hundred people had been released under this amnesty it would be worth declaring it,” the United Russia deputy said with confidence.
Yuri Sinelshchikov, who represents the Communist Party of Russia in the parliamentary committee for civil and criminal legislation, opposes a sweeping amnesty. “Each case should be considered separately. Certainly, 26,000 people are too many to use the presidential right for pardoning. They cannot be released from custody all together. As a matter of fact, they are people convicted for the crimes,” Sinelshchikov affirms.
At VTB’s “Russia Calling!” forum Russian President Vladimir Putin did not rule out a possible amnesty for the convicts, who consider themselves as political prisoners, noting that many of them are not such, that Kommersant daily recalled. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin noted that “these people should not be persecuted forever and any person, who violated the law some day in the past, should not be exposed to the Damocles’ sword for his lifetime.”