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Assad grants amnesty for crimes committed during unrest in Syria

Damascus, Mon, 16 Jan 2012 ANI

Damascus, Jan 16 (ANI): Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has granted amnesty for crimes committed since the outbreak of a ten-month-old uprising against his rule.


Syria's state news agency said that amnesty would apply to army deserters who turned themselves in before the end of January, peaceful protesters and those who handed in unlicensed weapons.


It was not clear how many prisoners would be affected by Sunday' pardon.


According to The BBC, this is not the first time Assad has offered amnesty to his opponents, and it is unlikely to have any more impact than the ones he proposed last year.


Human rights groups have claimed that tens of thousands of people have been detained and routinely tortured over the past year.


Exact numbers are hard to verify as most foreign media are barred from reporting freely in Syria.


The United Nations has claimed that at least 5,000 people have died as protesters continue to defy a bloody crackdown in order to take to the streets calling for an end to the Assad regime.


Earlier, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reiterated a plea to Assad to end the bloodshed.


"Stop the violence. Stop killing your people. The path of repression is a dead end," he said in a speech at a conference on Arab democracy. (ANI)


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