TBILISI, DFWatch — President Mikheil Saakashvili will veto a planned mass amnesty passed by parliament, arguing that the new government is about to release dangerous people into society.
The amnesty was passed by parliament December 22 after much debate and would see 3 500 prisoners released.
The president explained his decision at a meeting with students on Thursday, but no substantiating information was published about the veto.
Saakashvili earlier said he doesn’t support announcing an amnesty and therefore it was expected that he would block the law from coming into force.
The new law may apply to a large number of prisoners, as apart from the 3 500 who will be released, others will have their sentence reduced. The president as well as the opposition argue that the law will erode people’s security.
Saakashvili says a list of political prisoners which has been drawn up by a parliamentary committee raises suspicions, as none of the well-known international organizations have confirmed the existence of political prisoners in Georgia. He says that according to this list, people who are convicted of pedophilia, spying and coup attempt may also be released.
“An amnesty is announced when there is a stable situation in a country. In this case, you can step by step unload the prisons, but if you let out a large part of dangerous criminals, you do great harm. Let parliament take the responsibility that they release pedophiles, Russian spies and pedophiles. I won’t sign this as long as I am sober,” he said.
But the parliamentary majority — the Georgian Dream coalition — controls 91 votes; more than the 89 needed to overcome the president’s veto.