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Lack of amnesty law hinders release of militias held prisoner — Donetsk ombudsman

March 30, 2015, 14:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW
At the moment Ukraine is prepared to release only 19 men
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MOSCOW, March 30. /TASS/. There are about two hundred names on the list of seized militias that has been handed over to the Kiev authorities, but most of them cannot be released at the moment because they are faced with legal charges or have been convicted by courts, the human rights commissioner of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Darya Morozova, has told the media on Monday.

At the moment Ukraine is prepared to release only 19 men.

"We have received a list of 19 persons whom Ukraine is prepared to hand over to the Donetsk Republic," Morozova said. "There are problems with the procedural clearance of the other guys, because courts have pronounced sentences and put some in custody. They have real terms. The Minsk Memorandum says there must be an amnesty law. That’s the stumbling block. Without that law the judges cannot amnesty them."

Morozova speculated that the exchange might take place as early as next week.

"The Ukrainian side has been taking steps. We had a phone call from Viktor Medvedchuk yesterday. An exchange of prisoners may take place next week," the Donetsk News Agency quotes her as saying.

The Contact Group for Ukraine on February 12 signed a package of measures to implement the Minsk Accords. Item five of that document requires pardon and amnesty by introducing a special law prohibiting prosecution and punishment for all those involved in the conflict in Donbass. Item six obliged the parties to the release prisoners of war under the "all-for-all" pattern. It was to be effected on the fifth day following the pullback of weapons.

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