Lebanese Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said Wednesday that the first draft of a general amnesty decree was already completed, and a final version would be issued “very soon,” according to a statement from the minister’s press office.
The amnesty, though its nature was not elaborated on in the statement, is expected to rescind tens of thousands of outstanding arrest warrants for alleged Islamists, as well as those accused of petty and drug-related crimes, and those suspected of collaborating with Israel during the latter's occupation of southern Lebanon.
The decree is also expected to release scores of people currently imprisoned for those crimes.
Members of Lebanon's three main religious sects – Sunni and Shia Muslims and Christians – have been lobbying for the amnesty for members of their communities.
Demands from the Sunni leadership have largely centered on those wanted and imprisoned for allegedly participating in clashes in the southern city of Sidon in 2013 and in the northern city of Tripoli in 2014.
Shiites have lobbied for the pardon of those imprisoned or wanted for drug-related and petty crimes, hailing largely from the impoverished north-eastern Baalbeck-Hermel region.
Christian figures have requested that those accused of collaborating with Israel during the occupation of Lebanon be pardoned, and that those already imprisoned on these charged be released.
Lobbying groups have called on politicians to issue an amnesty decree before upcoming parliamentary elections are held in May, threatening that those focused on securing the amnesty would otherwise withhold their votes.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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