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Tajik Lower House Passes Moratorium On Death Penalty

2 June 2004 -- Tajikistan's lower house of parliament has unanimously adopted a moratorium on the death penalty.

The lower house, the Majlisi Namoyandagon, set no end date for the moratorium, which is to take effect immediately after becoming law. The bill sets the maximum sentence for a crime at 25 years in prison.

The moratorium must still be approved by the upper house of parliament, which is considered a formality, and must be signed by President Emomali Rakhmonov, who proposed the moratorium in April.

However, parliamentarian Shermahmad Shoev said the courts are already abiding by the moritorium.

"Keeping in mind the experience of most of the countries in the world that have abolished or suspended this kind of punishment, Tajikistan has also chosen this path," Shoev said. "In Tajikistan, the death sentence will be not carried out anymore and this kind of punishment has been already suspended [in the courts]."

Last year, Rakhmonov reduced the number of crimes punishable by death from 15 to five and revoked its use against women and minors.

Amnesty International has strongly criticized the death penalty in Tajikistan, but the number of executions carried out in the Central Asian country is unknown.