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Iraq lawmakers pass amendment tightening amnesty law

[JURIST] The Iraqi Council of Ministers has amended the General Amnesty Law [text in English] to exclude prisoners who have committed certain types of serious crimes, an Iraqi government official said Sunday. The legislature passed the amnesty law [JURIST report] in February as part of the Maliki government's reconciliation effort. The bill was aimed at reducing the prison population by 5,000. Most of the detainees who have been released to date were low-ranking army officers or minor members of Saddam Hussein's defunct Baath Party [BBC backgrounder].

The amendment reportedly denies the possibility of amnesty to inmates charged with serious crimes, including committing terrorist activities against the state and membership in a terrorist organization. The pre-amendment amnesty law authorized the release of any prisoner who has not appeared before a judge within six years of the date of detention. VOI has more.

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