On June 21, 2011, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad granted amnesty for crimes that were committed during protests earlier in the year. The grant of amnesty, the second such action taken by al-Assad in an attempt to pacify uprisings in the country, applied to those serving sentences and suffering from terminal illnesses, excepting those who committed serious offenses. Prior to this grant, al-Assad had promised to institute reforms and present a new constitution. Syria has been internationally criticized for the force used against civilians during protests in the country.
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