Turkmenistan Pardons 1,402 Prisoners

Turkmenistan’s authoritarian president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, has pardoned 1,402 prisoners.

State media reported following a government cabinet meeting on May 15 that 1,192 citizens and 210 foreign nationals who “sincerely regretted their criminal deeds” would be released from prisons.

The prisoners will reportedly be released ahead of the Night of Power, the holiest Muslim night celebrated this year on May 19.

There was no mention of what basis the list of the pardoned was prepared. The names of the offenders, which articles of the Criminal Code they were sentenced under, and how much of their sentence was served were also not published.

As in previous years, Berdymukhammedov ordered local officials to ensure the pardoned receive employment, although the country is believed to have a rising unemployment rate and slowing economic growth.

Turkmenistan is one of the world’s most isolated and repressive countries.

Its prisons are believed to be filled with hundreds of political prisoners, dozens of whom have been held incommunicado for years under harsh conditions, according to human rights groups.

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