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Presidential Amnesty Extends to More Than 30,000 Ukrainians

Some 30,000 Ukrainians, including 10,000 prisoners, will be absolved from their punishments within the next three months under an amnesty law that President Kuchma signed on his 65th birthday last week, Interfax reported on 14 August, quoting Volodymyr Lyovochkin, head of the State Department for Execution of Sentences.

Lyovochkin said some 20,000 people covered by the amnesty law are serving "alternative punishment" sentences outside prison. Ukraine's last amnesty, in 2001, was timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of independence and freed 37,000 people.

Lyovochkin said 198,000 people are currently behind bars in Ukraine. Since 1991, a total of 146,000 people have been freed under amnesties.

(RFE/RL 18.viii.03)

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