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Why did Pilate offer to release the murderer Barabbas?

When Pilate offered up Jesus or Barabbas for release, was this an offer of  pardon?

I have limited understanding of this was a tradition each year where Pilate would release a prisoner during the Jewish Passover but did this release mean a pardon?

Matthew 27:15

MODERNHEBREW - 15 ומנהג ההגמון היה לפטר לעם בכל חג אסיר אחד את אשר יחפצו׃

Clarify Share Report Asked April 21 2015 Data Ken van Zyl

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