Graphic showing the number of prisoners in each prison. (Prison Ministry.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Almost to 7 000 prisoners have left Georgian jails after a mass amnesty came into force one month ago, according to the country’s Prison Ministry.

This is twice as many as the government estimate before the amnesty.

In total, 6 918 prisoners have been released; among them 175 who are designated as political prisoners, 275 adult women and 17 juvenile male prisoners.

The law on amnesty was first passed on December 21, 2012, but the president blocked it from coming into force by using his right to veto. A week later, parliament overturned his veto passing the bill by 91 votes, then the president again refused to sign it into law, arguing that he won’t sign a law which will release ‘spies and criminals’, jeopardizing the safety of citizens.

The parliament speaker then used his constitutional right to sign the law, and it came into force on January 12, when political prisoners were the first to leave jail.

In addition to the over three thousand who will be released, about 18 500 will have their sentence reduced after a court has reviewed their case, according to the ministry.