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QURGHON-TEPPA, Tajikistan -- Officials in Tajikistan's southern Khatlon Province say 10 percent of all crimes in the region this year have been committed by women.

Yusuf Huseinov of Khatlon's Prosecutor's Office told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that economic hardship is leading many women to commit crimes.

He said 210 inmates are currently in Tajikistan's only women's penitentiary in the southern city of Norak.

One woman is serving a 27-year jail term for murder.

She told RFE/RL that she has four children, the youngest of whom was born in jail and is living with her. She added that she is seeking a pardon for the sake of her children.

Ten other inmates in the Norak penitentiary are serving their terms with children born in prison.

Last year, some 300 female inmates were released from jail or their terms were reduced due to an amnesty by Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.

The local Prosecutor's Office told RFE/RL that 23 of the women amnestied and released last year were rearrested shortly after their early release for different crimes.