Syria’s Assad gives amnesty, shocking many

January 16, 2012

(CBS News)

President Assad issued a blanket amnesty to protestors on Sunday, an amnesty many of his opponents are calling a sham.


Still, many detainees were released. CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports that, in Damascus, no one was more surprised at the move than the prisoners.


Late Sunday afternoon, Arab League observers and the media were summoned to Damascus Central Prison to witness the mass release.


“They’re the men who were arrested for demonstrating in protests last March,” said Colonel el Ghajari.


Meanwhile, down the hall, guards gave the prisoners a briefing on the amnesty they didn’t want CBS News to film.


Then the men were officially put on show: They walked out dazed, scared and unsure how much to say.


One man walked out seemingly injured, but didn’t want to talk to the CBS News crew while still at the prison.

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