DUSHANBE, August 19, 2016, Asia-Plus – On Wednesday August 17, President Emomali Rahmon proposed to parliament a mass amnesty law.  It will be the 15th amnesty announced in Tajikistan since its independence.  

An official source at the Prosecutor-General’s Office says the decision on amnesty for each convict will be made separately.  “Relevant bodies will make decision on each prisoner separately,” the source said.

He also called on journalists to refrain from speculating “who will be released and who not.”    

The proposed mass amnesty law is expected to apply to 12,000 convicts.  More than 3,000 inmates are expected to be released from penitentiaries and more than 4,000 people with suspended sentences and sentences not linked to jail terms would be fully amnestied under the proposed legislation.  Besides, the prison terms of more than 5,000 people would be cut and ongoing or pending investigations against them halted.

Prisoners eligible for release reportedly include those who are disabled, World War II veterans, military deserters, convicts over 55, women and minors, those suffering from cancer, tuberculosis or other serious illnesses, and foreign nationals.  

The amnesty will be also extended to prisoners, who were imprisoned for misappropriation and embezzlement of state funds and fraud if they reimburse the losses. 

Those convicted of serious crimes such as murder, terrorism, religious extremism, and other similar crimes would not be subject to the amnesty, the president’s website said.

The amnesty will also not apply to women who committed extremism- and terrorism-related crimes.   

The amnesty is proposed to honor the 25th anniversary of Tajikistan''s Independence that will be marked on September 9.  

The previous 14th amnesty that was announced in the country in 2014 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Tajikistan’s Constitution applied to 10,000 convicts.

The 13th amnesty that was announced in Tajikistan in 2011 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Tajikistan’s Independence granted freedom to 4,300 prisoners, including 195 women and 153 minors, reduced jail sentences for another 5,000 inmates, and dropped the charges against 5,000 accused.

According to data from the Ministry of Justice, more than 12,000 people are currently being held in Tajikistan’s jails, penal colonies and pretrial detention centers.

The Penitentiary System is responsible for managing the prison system in Tajikistan and has been part of the Ministry of Justice since 2002.  Its 18 penitentiary institutions reportedly include eight correctional colonies (including one colony for women), one colony for juveniles, one prison and five pre-trial detention centers.  There are also three regional units responsible for the execution of non-custodial sanctions.