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Turkmen President Pardons More Than 600 Inmates

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has pardoned 611 inmates on the occasion of a religious holiday, according to state media reports.

Berdymukhammedov was quoted as saying that the pardons were meant to mark the Night of Revelation, an important stage during the holy month of Ramadan, which is currently being observed by Muslims around the world.

His predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, issued similar amnesty decrees once a year during Ramadan.

Berdymukhammedov, an authoritarian ruler who controls all aspects of Turkmen society, has issued such decrees several times a year, usually on the eve of state holidays.

Last year, Berdymukhammedov pardoned more than 3,000 inmates on different occasions.

Such clemencies usually do not cover political prisoners.