Europe

Romania: gov't wants to pardon thousands of prisoners

  • FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 file photo, Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh shows his inked finger before voting in Banjul, Gambia. Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, just two days before he is supposed to cede power after losing elections last month. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

    FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 file photo, Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh shows his inked finger before voting in Banjul, Gambia. Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, just two days before he is supposed to cede power after losing elections last month. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • People stand in front of the government headquarters during protest against the government's plan to pardon thousands of prisoners through an emergency ordinance, in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017.  Several thousand people marched through the Romanian capital on Wednesday night to protest the government's plan to pardon thousands of prisoners, a surprise move to allegedly reduce overcrowding in prisons that would also benefit some notable government supporters. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

    People stand in front of the government headquarters during protest against the government's plan to pardon thousands of prisoners through an emergency ordinance, in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. Several thousand people marched through the Romanian capital on Wednesday night to protest the government's plan to pardon thousands of prisoners, a surprise move to allegedly reduce overcrowding in prisons that would also benefit some notable government supporters. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)  (The Associated Press)

Romania's government is proposing to pardon thousands of prisoners, in a drive to reduce overcrowding in prisons.

The justice ministry published a draft plan on Wednesday, surprising Romania's top prosecutor and drawing sharp criticism from opposition politicians.

The proposal could affect 2,500 prisoners — those with sentences under five years, except for those convicted of crimes of a sexual nature, violence or corruption.

Prisoners over 60, pregnant women and inmates with young children would see their sentences halved regardless of their conviction.

Premier Sorin Grindeanu wants to implement the measure through an emergency ordinance which would bypass parliament and would not require the president's signature.

General Prosecutor Augustin Lazar criticized the proposal, saying it lacked transparency and had not been discussed publicly.