President of Armenia to pardon draft evaders
Armenian President Armen Sargsyan has signed an amnesty law that provides pardon to the country’s draft evaders. The pardon applies to privates who have already turned 27 years old, and reserve officers who have turned 35 years old.
After the law enters into force, the amnesty will affect more than 5,000 people on the wanted list and 124 convicts.
The purpose of the bill is to allow the amnestied to contribute towards the development of Armenia in the economic, social, spiritual, and cultural spheres.
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What does the new amnesty bill state?
At the beginning of May, the Armenian parliament adopted the bill on the declaration of amnesty for persons who evaded the next draft for urgent military or alternative service, proposed by the Department of Justice.
The bill applies to members of the rank and file who have reached 27 years of age, and officers in the reserve who have reached 35 years old, and who:
- evaded compulsory military or alternative service,
- evaded compulsory training,
- evaded mobilization
before September 26, 2020, in other words, before the second Karabakh war broke out.
Not only suspects and defendants, but also those already convicted, will fall under the amnesty.
After the law enters into force:
- those who are already serving their sentences will be released,
- those who received a suspended sentence will have their convictions removed,
- those who were released on parole will be removed from the surveillance of law enforcement agencies.
The amnesty will apply to everyone who meets the criteria specified in the law. This will also allow many Armenian citizens residing abroad to return to their homeland, however, they will need to arrive in Armenia before December 31, 2021.