2 Months after Amnesty: Only 250 Prisoners Released
Almost two months have passed since the Belarusian authorities declared the latest amnesty. According to the MIA calculations, 3 512 persons fell under the action of the amnesty. The basic condition for dismissal from prison was compensation of the financial damage to victims or the state by 24 April. However, according to the chair of the punishment execution department Yury Barynkou only 250 of them have been released so far, mostly those who have compensated the damage.
This number could be yet smaller unless the prisoners’ relatives helped them to gather money for compensations. In his interview to European Radio the chair of the press-service of the Prosecutor General’s office Mikhail Vavula said: ‘It is difficult to say who compensates the damage, but the amnesty is applied only if the whole sum of damage is paid off. No promises to pay the money after the release from prison will help.’
The decisions on granting parole are taken by the administration of prison facilities.
Mikhail Vavula: ‘Of course, the prosecutor’s office receives complaints of the prisoners who weren’t amnestied. If a corresponding decision of the administration of a prison facility is found unlawful, the administration is ordered to grant parole to the applicant.’ During the previous amnesties pregnant women were a category of prisoners to whom amnesty was applied first of all. This year they have the same conditions with all other prisoners and can be released only after compensation of damage.
In addition, during all previous years the preliminary number of the amnestied matched the actual number. However, the previous amnesties did not have such financial orientation. It is hardly possible that all 3 512 persons will compensate the damage by the deadline. Thus, the number of the released prisoners can be quite different.