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Tajik President Proposes Mass Amnesty

DUSHANBE -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has proposed to parliament a mass amnesty law that would release more than 12,000 convicts.

Tajikistan's presidential press service said on August 17 that more than 3,000 inmates would be released from penitentiaries and more than 4,000 people with suspended sentences and sentences not linked to jail terms would be fully amnestied under the proposed legislation.

In addition, the press service said the prison terms of more than 5,000 people would be cut and ongoing or pending investigations against them halted.

Women, teenagers, men older than 55, and veterans of wars and military operations would also be eligible for an amnesty.

Those convicted of serious crimes such as murder, terrorism, religious extremism, and other similar crimes would not be subject to the amnesty, the press service said.

The amnesty was proposed to honor the 25th anniversary of Tajikistan's independence that will be marked on September 9.

It is expected that Tajik's parliament -- seen as a rubber-stamp body for Rahmon -- will accept the proposed bill and approve it.

International watchdogs and rights activists have criticized the Tajik government for years, accusing Dushanbe of using antiterrorism laws to crack down on dissent in the country.

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