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Ukraine president proposes amnesty for anti-government demonstrators

Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich [official website; JURIST news archive] offered amnesty [press release] on Friday to those detained while participating in the country's recent anti-government protests. The proposal was made during a roundtable discussion with opposition leaders. "My point of view is that we should turn over the page and announce amnesty," Yanukovich said. "We should take this issue off the table. We should release the arrested people and even those who have already been convicted. We should put an end to this conflict." The protesters were arrested in the Ukraine capitol, Kiev, where they were demonstrating against the government's rejection of integration into the EU in favor of stronger ties with Russia. There was no immediate response from the opposition leaders.

Protests began earlier this month when demonstrators took to the streets of Kiev to protest [JURIST report] Yanukovych's decision to abandon a proposed trade pact with the EU. In October, Yanukovich agreed to sign a law allowing former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive], who was jailed in 2011 on abuse of power and corruption charges and charged with murder [JURIST reports] in January, to travel abroad for medical treatment. Ukraine's opposition parties clashed with Yanukovich in November 2012 when they demanded a recount [JURIST report] on parliamentary elections that maintained Yanukovich's power.

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