"Under the fresh pardon, those who are sentenced with death penalty will face instead a lifetime imprisonment with hard labour, while lifetime imprisonment will change to 20 years of incarceration with hard labour."
Damascus, June 11 - A day after President Bashar al-Assad declared a general amnesty which covers crimes committed before Monday, the first batch of Syrian inmates were released from government jails here Tuesday.

The presidential pardon turned effective after it was declared Monday, Xinhua quoted First Attorney of the countryside of Damascus Ziad Hlaibi as saying, adding that Syrian courts are assiduously working to release those who have been covered by the pardon.

Though not giving the exact number of the released inmates and others waiting to be released, Hlaibi hailed the presidential pardon as inclusive, as the amnesty excludes very few crimes.

Assad issued the pardon Monday, days after winning a third seven-year term in office.

Among plenty of law items that are covered with the recent pardon, Monday's amnesty would grant pardon to foreigners who have entered Syria with the intention to join a terrorist organisation or commit a terrorist act, if they turned themselves in to the authority within a month following the issuance of the pardon.

The amnesty also fully pardons the kidnappers who release their hostages safely and without ransom within one month.

Under the fresh pardon, those who are sentenced with death penalty will face instead a lifetime imprisonment with hard labour, while lifetime imprisonment will change to 20 years of incarceration with hard labour.

Assad has granted a number of general amnesties since the Syrian crisis erupted four years ago.


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