DUSHANBE, June 29, Asia-Plus -- 291 female prison inmates have been released under Tajikistan’s amnesty law by June 28, according to the directorate of penitentiary institutions at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). 

Bahrom Abdulhaqov, the head of the MoJ directorate of penitentiary institutions, told Asia-Plus that all of them had been serving their sentences for minor crimes. 

According to him, it has been decided to start implementation of the amnesty law, adopted on occasion of the 10th anniversary of the National Peace Accord, with applying the amnesty, first of all, on women.  

As it had been reported earlier, twenty prison inmates were released under the National Peace Accord Amnesty in the Sughd province on June 26.   As of June 1, 2007 2,596 prisoners have served their sentences in penal colonies in northern Tajikistan, according to the Sughd regional prosecutor’s office. 

Abdulhaqov says that amnestied persons are being released in stages after a review of their cases. 

We will recall that the amnesty, which marks the 10th anniversary of the end of the civil war in Tajikistan, applies on veterans of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 and female convicts, elderly, minors and sick prisoners who are serving sentences for minor crimes.  The amnesty excludes those serving sentences for serious crimes such as terrorism and extremism, killing two and more people, recidivists or those who committed crimes in prison.  

 The implementation of an August 2006 amnesty law, adopted on occasion of the 15th anniversary of Tajikistan’s Independence, has halved Tajikistan’s prison population.  A total of 6,731 inmates were released, while 4,508 others were granted partial amnesty (they had their sentences commuted) under the August 2006 amnesty.  According to the MoJ, before the adoption of the August 2006 amnesty law, 12,000 prisoners were in the jails in Tajikistan. 

President Emomali Rahmon told a ceremonial meeting, dedicated to the 10th anniversary of signing of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Reconciliation, in Dushanbe on June 26 that in a series of eleven amnesties issued since 1992, 60,000 people have been amnestied.