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October 17, 2006 -- Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov has said that he will set free over 10,000 inmates this week, including eight people convicted for treason.
Addressing a cabinet meeting on October 16, Niyazov said the eight were part of a alleged opposition-sponsored plot to kill him four years ago.
He said that unlike the rest of the plotters, who will remain in jail, those eight have "repented their crimes."
All pardoned inmates are due to be set free by October 19.
National Security Minister Geldymukhammed Ashirmukhammedov said the group included nearly all women currently serving prison terms, as well as 253 foreign nationals.
Niyazov routinely amnesties prisoners to celebrate the last day of the holy month of Ramadan.
Pardoned inmates are required to take an oath on the Koran and "Rukhnama," Niyazov's book of spitirual guidance, which is mandatory reading in the country.
(Watan, with TDH, turkmenistan.ru)
Tajigul Begmedova speaking at RFE/RL in Prague on July 21 (RFE/RL)
LIFE UNDER NIYAZOV:
On July 21, RFE/RL's Prague broadcasting center hosted a presentation by TAJIGUL BEGMEDOVA,
chairwoman of the Bulgaria-based Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (THF). Begmedova discussed the human rights situation in Turkmenistan under President Saparmural Niyazov, focusing on the arrests in June of THF activists and RFE/RL Turkmen Service correspondent Ogulsapar Muradova. Begmedova, who graduated from the Institute of Economy in Moscow in 1987, fled Turkmenistan in 2002 and lives in exile in Sofia.
LISTEN Listen to the complete presentation (36 minutes; presentation in Russian with consecutive translation into English):
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Some RFE/RL Coverage Of Human Rights In Turkmenistan:
Media Coverage Of Leader Distracts From Real Problems
Authorities Cast Wide Net In Conspiracy Allegations
Embattled Turkmen Writer Honored Abroad
RFE/RL Correspondent Recounts Arrest
ARCHIVE RFE/RL coverage of Turkmenistan.
THE COMPLETE STORY: Click on the icon to view a dedicated webpage bringing together all of RFE/RL's coverage of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.