Residents block the road as they demand general amnesty for prisoners in Eaat in the Bekaa Valley. (The Daily Star/Nidal Solh)
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With tens of thousands of outstanding arrest warrants nationwide, thousands of suspects in custody awaiting charges and claims of foul play in the judicial process to identify suspects, calls have been growing for a blanket amnesty.While the interior and justice ministers would need to sign the decree, Machnouk added that the final decision lies with President Michel Aoun, who he said opposes a general amnesty.From the Bekaa Valley to Sidon and all the way to Tripoli, Lebanese people have been demonstrating for a general amnesty law that would forgive hundreds of thousands of crimes.In Sidon, supporters of radical preacher Ahmad al-Assir rally every Friday after prayers to demand amnesty for family members charged with terrorism for taking part in the Abra clashes. Assir and his accomplices waged a three-day war against the Lebanese Army in Abra, east of the southern city of Sidon, in 2013 . The fighting left 18 soldiers and some 40 militants dead. Abo Abdo Mazloum, a lifelong resident of the Bekaa Valley's Brital village, spent seven years in prison.According to Mazloum's research there are 35,000 warrants issued in the Bekaa, 85,000 in Mount Lebanon, and 60,000 in Tripoli.Metn MP Ghassan Moukheiber proposed a limited amnesty in addition to a set of reforms to exonerate petty criminals and drug users, which he said make up the majority of criminal cases in Lebanon.
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