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Nearly 1,000 Turkmen Prisoners On Annual Pardon List

Rights groups accuse Turkmen authorities of imprisoning political enemies.
President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov will pardon 990 people currently in prison in conjunction with Turkemistan's annual Flag Day celebration on February 19 but will not release any political prisoners, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

A list of those to be pardoned who are currently in prisons and work colonies published in local newspapers on February 17 shows that 67 women are on the list.

But it appears the list includes none of the political prisoners whose releases have been sought by international human rights organizations.

Like his predecessor, the late strongman Saparmurat Niyazov, Berdymukhammedov has made the granting of pardons for mostly short-term prisoners part of a Flag Day tradition. The release last year comprised 1,269 prisoners.