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In criminal law, a sovereign act of oblivion or forgetfulness (from Greek amnestia, forgetfulness) granted by a government, especially to a group of persons who are guilty of (usually political) crimes in the past. It is often conditional upon the group's return to obedience and duty within a prescribed period. See alsopardon.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on amnesty, visit Britannica.com.