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Syria releases 190 prisoners under Assad's amnesty

(Xinhua)

09:36, January 16, 2012

Detainees who are about to be released wait in line for release procedures at Adra prison in Damascus, Jan. 15, 2012. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared Sunday an amnesty for all crimes committed during the unrest starting in mid-March, official SANA news agency reported. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

DAMASCUS, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government released late Sunday about 190 prisoners under the general amnesty that was granted earlier in the day by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which covered all crimes committed during the country's 10-month- old unrest.

Another batch of prisoners would be released Monday once their papers are finished, according to Syrian officials.

Assad's amnesty covered those who have peacefully demonstrated, and those who have carried and possessed unlicensed weapons and ammunition, in addition to those who would hand over their unlicensed weapons to the government before the end of this month.

Meanwhile, head of the Arab League (AL) observers mission in Damascus, Sudanese Jaafar Kobaideh, said that the amnesty granted by Assad has come in accordance with a protocol signed between Syria and the regional group on ending the unrest in the country.

Kobaideh, who was talking to journalists during a government- escorted trip to the central Adra Prison on the outskirts of Damascus to monitor the release process, said the move reflects the government's commitment to the protocol.

He said the report, which the observers would submit to the AL next Saturday, would not deviate from what they have seen, noting that the observers have taken the oath and "they must be honest, truthful, transparent and objective."

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