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22 March 2020


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The important term here, of course, is: civil which obviously includes major crimes including murder. I wonder whether this would include those who committed crimes related to import-export, currency controls, and hoarding foreign currency. It notably does not include "political crimes" Throughout the region, and perhaps elsewhere in the world, this annual event is a big deal for prisoners and families alike.

As for the jihadis and corona, I wonder what they say about jihadis or their families who are or get infected. Different message from God?


Syria has reported its first confirmed case 'from someone who came from abroad'. We shall see how the White Helmets handle COVID with or without divine intervention.


Jane, the amnesty extends to ALL crimes committed since the war began in 2011 with the two exceptions of weapons smuggling and drug dealing. See today's AP report (via NYT) for more details.


I note AP mentions that it's not known whether the decree is to ward off the spread of coronavirus inside prisons, as the Iranian gov. has done recently (According to AP, Iran freed 85,000 prisoners on "temporary leave" in order to combat the spread of the virus inside the country's prisons.)

That might have been one consideration for Assad but I doubt it's the central one. Over the years Assad has forgiven countless Syrians of even the most serious anti-government crimes, often on a 'wholesale' basis, in the effort to rebuild the country and pry Syrians away from jihadi rule. I think the sweeping amnesty, which builds on an already sweeping amnesty decree issued last fall, is part of his effort to bring more Syrians together.


During today's White House virus briefing, President Trump was asked about releasing non-violent offenders from prisons here and he said they were considering it but there are problems with it.

Looks like Harvey got out of Rikers in the nick of time, 38 reported cases there.

Ghost Ship

Will ISIS claim that high number of COVID-19 deaths in Iran is a miracle sent by God to strike down an country of unbelievers? Of course they will because nothing works better for ISIS recruiting than a miracle. Trump and those around him, if they had more sense would understand that and give the finger to ISIS by lifting all sanctions on Iran for the duration of the COVID-19 epidemic to piss off ISIS. This is one of the few occasions on which I wish Putin really controlled Trump.


whoopsie, Harvey has the virus, bringing it up to a Buffalo federal prison.



Sounds like good news and if the virus remains a serious concern, it may also limit new prisoners. It could allow him to release some relatives and an in-law, assuming that their financial crime is considered smuggling. Bashar also knows that the last thing he wants to do is alienate the Sunni merchants who have remained and support the regime so far. While many Syrians have already learned the fate of their family members who have been killed, others were told not to ask...Per Ali Mamluk...If you haven't heard from them or know where they are, they are gone and not coming back.

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