Romania: gov't wants to pardon thousands of prisoners

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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.