Sat, 23 Nov 2019

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has proposed that parliament adopt a law on a mass amnesty affecting some 20,000 people, including foreign nationals, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Central Asian nation's constitution.

According to the presidential proposal, placed on his website on October 16, more than 3,000 convicts would be released from penitentiaries and more than 5,000 individuals whose sentences were not associated with imprisonment will be pardoned as well.

Probes against more than 2,000 suspects will be stopped, while prison terms of almost 10,000 inmates will be shortened, according to the presidential proposal.

Women convicted of serious crimes and who have served more than 12 years in prison, the majority of male inmates older than 70, and all foreign nationals will be released from prisons as well, it says.

Individuals sentenced to life in prison, those who committed a crime after receiving a previous pardon, inmates who committed crimes while serving prison sentences, and inmates who systematically violate prison-order regulations will not be pardoned as part of the amnesty.

There have been 15 mass amnesties in Tajikistan since it gained its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The amnesties have not affected individuals convicted on politically motivated charges.

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

The last mass amnesty was announced in August 2016 ahead of the 25th anniversary of Tajikistan's independence.

Tajikistan marks its Constitution Day on November 6.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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