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Tajik President Proposes Bill On Mass Amnesty To Mark 30th Anniversary Of Independence

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon (file photo)
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon (file photo)

DUSHANBE -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has proposed a mass amnesty affecting more than 16,000 people to mark the 30th anniversary of the Central Asian nation's independence on September 9.

According to a bill put forward to lawmakers by Rahmon on August 30, more than 9,500 convicts would be released from penitentiaries of different security levels, probes against some 1,150 individuals would halted, and the prison terms of some 5,300 inmates would be shortened.

The amnesty will affect mainly women, individuals younger than 18 and older than 55, disabled persons, inmates with serious illnesses, people with state awards, war veterans, and foreign nationals, the Tajik presidential press service said.

It is not clear if the clemency act will affect political prisoners in the tightly controlled former Soviet republic, though previous mass amnesties in Tajikistan have not affected individuals convicted on politically motivated charges.

Individuals sentenced to life in prison, those who committed a crime after receiving a previous pardon, people who committed crimes while serving prison sentences, and inmates who systematically violated prison order regulations, have also not been included in previous amnesties.

Rights groups say Rahmon, who has ruled Tajikistan since 1992, has used the security forces, the judicial system, and other levers of power to sideline opponents and suppress dissent.

The last mass amnesty in Tajikistan was announced in October 2019 ahead of the 25th anniversary of the country's constitution, which is marked on November 6 each year.

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