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30 prisoners pardoned for Christmas

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Photo: APA (dpa)
10:26 CET+01:00
Austria's President Heinz Fischer has granted 30 prisoners their freedom as part of a traditional Christmas amnesty. They will be allowed to spend the holiday at home and can leave prison on Wednesday.

Only prisoners who have been convicted of minor crimes, such as petty theft or fraud, are eligible for a Christmas pardon, and their sentence must be less than five years.

Inmates sentenced under the Narcotics Substances Act, or those guilty of negligent homicide such as hit and run accidents, sexual offences and aggravated assault are not considered.

Prisoners with mental health problems are also not eligible.

The Christmas pardon has a long tradition in Austria, going back to the 19th century. Last year, 18 people were given a Christmas amnesty.

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