On the 20th of May, the National Parliament of Azerbaijan passed an Act of Amnesty on the occasion of Republic Day which will take place on May 28th.
The Act will apply to 10,000 convictcs, 3,500 of whom will be released from prison. The document was submitted to parliament by parliament member and First Lady, Mehriban Aliyeva.
It should be noted that the Act will be applicable only to prisoners whose crimes do not pose a grave threat to society. The act will be applicable to prisoners serving their sentences through corrective labor and to military personnel tried by military tribunel with less than one year to serve.
The Act will further be extended to women convicted of less serious crimes committed before the age of 18, men who have reached the age of 60; disabled prisoners and men who have custody of an underaged or disabled child.
Amnesty will also be given to individuals who were deported from the Armenian SSR in between the years 1948 – 1953, as well as those that were forcibly evicted due to Armenian occupation in 1988 – 1993. Veterans of the Karabakh War and close relatives of lost soldiers will also receive amnesty.
Other groups scheduled to fall under the amnesty act include survivors of the tragedy of January 20th, 1990, the Khojaly genocide and their close relatives.
Amnesty will be granted to individuals who have less than 6 months to serve.
The act specifies certain restrictions: amnesty will not apply to men convicted of minor infractions and misdemeanors, nor of major felonies.
The act of amnesty will enter into force on the 15th of June and will be implemented over the course of 4 years.
Human rights defenders and activists have noted that the amnesty wil not affect political prisoners.
This is the fourth act of amnesty adopted on the initiative of Mehriban Aliyeva since 2007.
The previous Act of Amnesty was passed in 2013 and covered more than 9 000 convicts and resulted in the release of 2,000 prisoners.