Protest amnesty law takes effect in Ukraine
MOSCOW, February 17 (RAPSI) – A law on amnesty that pardons those who participated in mass protests in Ukraine from December 27 till February will take effect on Monday. The protesters began to release occupied government buildings on Sunday, which was the main condition for the amnesty.
Charges will be dropped against demonstrators who were detained or charged with crimes during mass anti-government rallies in Ukraine between December 27 and February 2, a statement on the general prosecutor’s website said.
The statement did not specify how many protesters would be amnestied. Ukraine’s chief prosecutor said in early February that a total of 259 demonstrators would receive clemency under the agreement.
Law enforcement officers who used force against the rioters will be also pardoned. However, the amnesty will not apply to the rioters who committed especially grave crimes. According to the law, 266 people are subject to amnesty in all of Ukraine.
Kiev and other Ukrainian cities have been rocked by mass anti-government street protests since President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from signing a series of agreements with the EU in November in favor of cementing ties with Russia.
A series of laws aimed at imposing greater control over protests adopted by Parliament on January 16 gave rise to a violent wave of protests in the Ukrainian capital. A rally in central Kiev on January 19 turned violent when radicals attacked police.
As a result of the escalating tensions, over 200 law enforcement officers were injured, with dozens of police officers having been taken to hospitals, according to the Interior Ministry. Two protesters lost their lives in the clashes.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov declared his resignation in order to facilitate a peaceful solution for the ongoing political crisis. In late January, the Ukrainian parliament adopted an amnesty for the rioters, barring those arrested for aggravated crimes.