An amnesty on the occasion of Lithuania's centenary and the upcoming visit of Pope Francis, proposed by Ramūnas Karbauskis, leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, is worth discussing, Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius says.
Elvinas Jankevičius
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

He told BNS Lithuania he hasn’t seen the bill yet but sees "more good than bad things" in this idea.

"We haven't seen the bill yet but lawmakers probably realize that the number of prisoners in Lithuania is too high and I believe they could bring more benefit for the public by being free, perhaps working as their maintenance costs the state a lot. We could back the idea but should have a good look into it and make a decision in the government for it to be a collegial government decision," Jankevičius told BNS Lithuania.

The minister also added that persons released from prison under the proposed amnesty would not be totally uncontrolled as they would be supervised by probation officers and would have to wear ankle monitors.

According to Jankevičius, Lithuania also plans to adopt by the end of August necessary amendments in response to the European Court of Human Rights' ruling that Lithuania violates lifetime prisoners' right to expect future release.

"After 25 years in prison, there probably should be an opportunity to review the decision and that would be done by a court of other institution," he said.

Karbauskis has registered an amendment to the amnesty law, which would pardon pregnant women and women with minor children, sentenced to prison for less than six years. Moreover, people over 65, those with medium or severe disabilities and those who committed their crimes being underage and sentenced to less than three years in prison would also be pardoned.

Others would see their sentences reduced but the amnesty would not apply to people sentenced to life imprisonment, recidivists, people sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for premeditated crimes, those sentenced for crimes at correctional facilities and those on probation.

Under the proposal, the amnesty would apply from October for crimes committed before the registration of this amendment on Jul 1.

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