In Jordan, about eight hundred prisoners serving jail sentences have been set free under a special royal decree of amnesty.
TV Prisoners in Amman's main jail applauding as Interior Minister Ali El-Bashir arrives
CU PAN FROM Prison officer TO El-Bashir speaking in Arabic
SV El-Bashir concludes and prisoners applaud and chant
SV Crowds of prisoners leaving jail
SV Relatives waiting on roadside
CU Released prisoners embraced by relatives (3 shots)
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Background: In Jordan, about eight hundred prisoners serving jail sentences have been set free under a special royal decree of amnesty. The decree, issued in Amman on Saturday (19 January), covers persons convicted by martial, as well as civil courts in Jordan.
SYNOPSIS: Prisoners at Amman's main jail warmly greeted the arrival of Interior Minister Ali El-Bashir on Sunday (20 January), when he came to organise their release. The previous week, King Hussein had asked the government to make a comprehensive study of the cases of prisoners, especially those sentenced for offences connected with public safety and national security. King Hussein asked that each case should be studied separately with a view to tapping the productive potential of existing prisoners.
The amnesty provides for commuting by half sentences passed on an unspecified number of prisoners, if their conduct behind bars justified slashing their sentences. As soon as King Hussein had requested the amnesty, the cabinet head held an extraordinary meeting to consider the details, and make arrangements.
The Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Sharaf, expressed the hope that the prisoners granted amnesty would return to society as sound and productive citizens. He also warned that the government and security forces would stay alert in issues of public safety and national security.