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ASTANA, October 21, 2011 (RFE/RL) -- The Kazakh parliament is soon to debate a draft law that would grant an amnesty to thousands of prisoners on the occasion of Kazakhstan's independence anniversary, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

The parliament press service told journalists on October 21 that the draft law has been approved by the Parliamentary Committee for Judicial Reform and Legislation.

More than 13,000 prisoners from the total prison population of some 55,000 are expected to be released under the amnesty. Kazakhstan's population is 16.5 million.

Kazakhstan will mark the 20th anniversary of its independence from the Soviet Union on December 16. There have been seven national amnesties since then.

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