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28 December 2005 -- Kazakhstan's lower house of parliament, or Majlis, approved a bill today that would amnesty about 14,000 prisoners.
If approved by the upper house and signed by President Nursultan Nazarbaev, the amnesty would apply to convicted minors, women, and the elderly.
The government proposed the amnesty to mark Kazakhstan's Independence Day, on 16 December, the Majlis' press office said.
The lower house also approved on 28 December a bill declaring the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, and the Russian Orthodox Christmas public holidays.
Eid al-Adha is marked at the end of the Hajj, the period each year when Muslims go on pilgrimage to Mecca. Russian Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on 7 January.