Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bashar al-Assad granted general amnesty in Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday issued a decree granting a general amnesty after 10 weeks of protests against his government and a military offensive that has been condemned internationally. The amnesty covers "all members of political movements including the Muslim Brotherhood," he said.

Belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that led an armed uprising against Assad's father in 1982, is punishable by death in Syria. Syrian activists say that some 10,000 people have been arrested since protests erupted against Assad in the southern city of Dera in mid-March, and about a thousand civilians have been killed.

One of the main demands of protesters has been releasing political prisoners and halt the forces of the powerful state security. Syria blames the violence on armed groups, the Islamists and foreign agitators and said that more than 120 police and soldiers have been killed in riots throughout the country.

Western nations have been pressing for the Security Council condemn the violent repression UN in Syria, but Russia and China, both veto-wielding members, have expressed reservations about a draft resolution. Assad's father, Hafez al-Assad sent troops to crush an armed uprising led by the Muslim Brotherhood in Hama for almost 30 years.

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