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Turkmenistan Marks International Day Of Neutrality With Prisoner Amnesty

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has pardoned 796 prisoners to mark the International Day of Neutrality marked on December 12, state media report.

The reports said Berdymukhammedov signed the amnesty decree on December 10 "following a long-established noble tradition."

In 2017, the UN General Assembly declared December 12 as the International Day of Neutrality.

Turkmenistan has been recognized by the UN as a permanently neutral state since December 1995.

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

His last clemency, announced on September 24, pardoned 1,722 inmates on the eve of Independence Day, marked on September 27.

Such clemencies usually do not cover inmates convicted on politically motivated charges.

With reporting by