President Saakashvili announced on August 19 about amnesty that will allow “tens of thousands” of ex-offenders to have their criminal records wiped clean.
The amnesty will not apply to those who were convicted for premeditated murder; murder in aggravating circumstances; sex crimes committed against minors; trafficking; torture; crimes related to ‘thieves-in-law’; crimes related to nuclear materials and illegal transit of radioactive materials; crimes committed against humanity and the state.
The amnesty will also apply to those who are currently serving conditional sentences; they will be released from conditional sentences and their criminal records will be cleared.
Saakashvili said that those willing to be part of the amnesty should apply to his administration and each application would be considered individually before the end of his presidential term.
President Saakashvili made the announcement in a televised address and described the proposed amnesty as “a step towards renewal and recovery of the society”, which would give “tens of thousands” of citizens “a new chance, new opportunity.”
He also said that with such amnesty “we are simply allowing these people to leave their past behind them… and to start a new life.”
In his statement, President Saakashvili said that the amnesty would not cause rise in crime and stressed that his proposal was in stark contrast from the large-scale amnesty carried out by the Georgian Dream coalition after coming into government through which about 13,000 inmates were released. Saakashvili slammed that amnesty as “illegal”, which, he said, led to rise in crime rate in the country. He also said that Interior Ministry’s official statistics showing decline in crime rate “should not be trusted.”
The Interior Ministry responded Saakashvili’s allegation with a written statement calling on the President “to refrain from misleading the society”. It said that 4,126 less crimes were recorded in the first seven months of 2013 than in the same period of last year and crime-solving rate has doubled with 53.3% of crimes solved in January-July, 2013.