The amnesty is being offered in honor of the holy month of Ramadan and the 15th anniversary of Turkmenistan's independence (October 27).
Niyazov regularly gives such amnesties to mark special events.
Prisoners convicted of serious crimes, including crimes against the state, are not eligible for the amnesty.
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.
LISTENListen to the complete presentation (36 minutes; presentation in Russian with consecutive translation into English):
Real Audio Windows Media
Some RFE/RL Coverage Of Human Rights In Turkmenistan:
ARCHIVE RFE/RL coverage of Turkmenistan.