SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — North Macedonia plans to pardon more than 1,200 people who face prison terms for failing to pay fines for violating restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic .
Justice Minister Nikola Tupancheski said the criminal court in the capital, Skopje, had offered the amnesty, noting there was not enough room in prisons for such people.
“People who have violated COVID-19 measures have generally been fined, as stipulated in our penal code. We are talking about more than 1,200 people for whom, if they do not pay the fine, in a short time the sentence will be transformed into a prison sentence,” Tupancheski said.
He said that the criminal court’s amnesty proposal had been forwarded to the parliament of North Macedonia.
North Macedonia had imposed movement restrictions and other restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in February 2020. The measures included fines of up to 2,000 euros ( $2,072) for those who violated curfew or protocols for a mandatory three weeks of isolation and wearing masks. Most restrictions were lifted in May this year, but people must still wear masks in hospitals, pharmacies and on public transport.
Courts across the country have fined more than 6,000 people.
The amnesty will not apply to corporations or other legal entities found to have violated pandemic-related restrictions.
Follow all the AP stories on the pandemic on https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.
Konstantin Testorides, The Associated Press