TBILISI, DFWatch — The law on amnesty, which is in about to be enforced, will release 3 000 prisoners and halve the sentence for 14 000 more.
Prison Minister Sozar Subari explained to journalists on Thursday the exact number of prisoners the new law will apply to.
The ministry will send 17 000 cases to court within three weeks after the law coming into force. The amnesty will gradually be brought in for a period of two months as prisoners leave jail.
“Not a single minute will be lost when the law is enforced,” the minister said, adding that 3 000 prisoners should be released immediately, while others will get their sentence reduced.
The Georgian Dream coalition, which during the election campaign promised to liberalize the crime policy, started working on a bill for a general amnesty after the parliament election in October, 2012. The draft was amended several times, but finally passed by parliament.
It was then sent to President Saakashvili to be signed, but the president used his veto powers to block the law and sent it back to parliament with his recommendations. Saakashvili’s position is that it is not correct to release what he calls criminals and spies.
But Georgian Dream controlled more than the 3/5 of seats in parliament to overturn the president’s veto, and forced through its version of the law.
Now the law is with the president awaiting his signature once more. He has seven days to sign it. This term ends today, Friday, but the president may extend the deadline because of the holidays and wait until January 11 with signing. If he again refuses to sign, the Speaker of Parliament will sign the law into force.
Saakashvili has said he won’t sign the amnesty law as long as he is sober.