Nicaragua OKs criticized amnesty for crimes during protests

Lawmakers allied to Nicaragua's president have approved an amnesty bill for crimes related to last year's anti-government protests, over staunch criticism from the opposition.

Critics say it would forgive abuses committed by police and pro-government civilian militias during a deadly crackdown on demonstrators who were demanding Daniel Ortega leave office.

The ruling Sandinista bloc said the law passed Saturday seeks "reconciliation" and a "stable and lasting peace." Ortega's allies consider the student-led protests a "failed coup d'etat."

Azahálea Solís of the Civic Alliance opposition group said the amnesty "attempts to disguise impunity for those who ordered, directed or participated in murders of citizens."

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says the crackdown resulted in 325 people dead, over 2,000 wounded, 770 jailed and 60,000 who fled the country.