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Turkmen President Decrees Amnesty

24 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov today announced amnesty for more than 8,000 prisoners held in Turkmenistan's jails.

Niyazov made the announcement at the annual session of the Halk Maslahaty, or People's Assembly, in Ashgabat.

The prisoners include nearly 260 foreign nationals, including Afghans, Iranians, Turks, and Russians.

Niyazov regularly amnesties prisoners. Such amnesties are usually timed to coincide with national holidays. Turkmenistan is currently preparing for Independence Day celebrations on 27 October.

(with AFP)