Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has proposed a bill on mass amnesty affecting 16,000 people to mark the 30th anniversary of Tajikistan’s Independence, which is celebrated on September 9 this year. 

According to the bill, which was put forward by the president to the Majlisi Namoyandagon (Tajikistan’s lower chamber of parliament) yesterday, more than 9,500 convicts will be released from penitentiaries of different security levels, probes against some 1,150 individuals will be halted, and the prison terms of some 5,300 inmates will be shortened.

The Tajik president’s official website says prisoners eligible for release under the 2021 amnesty include women, individuals younger than 18 and older than 55, disabled persons, inmates with serious illnesses, people with state awards, war veterans, and foreign nationals.

Individuals sentenced to life in prison, those who committed a crime after receiving a previous pardon, people who committed crimes while serving prison sentences, and inmates who systematically violated prison order regulations are not eligible for the amnesty.  

On this occasion, the president has ordered to convene an extraordinary session of the Majlisi Namoyandagon on September 6.  This law on amnesty must be enforced by the authorities applying it within two months.

Usually, amnesty is declared in Tajikistan on occasion of jubilee anniversaries of major public holidays.

Thus, the previous amnesty was declared in Tajikistan in October 2019 to mark the 25th anniversary of the adoption of Tajikistan’s Constitution.

The 2019 amnesty extended to more than 20,000 people.  3,100 convicts were released from prisons and 3,000 inmates of corrective labor colonies were released.  Besides, 4,500 individuals whose sentences were not associated with imprisonment were pardoned as well.  The amnesty also applied to 600 defendants and suspects awaiting legal proceedings in pretrial detention facilities and probe against them were stopped.

The released prisoners included 165 of 300 women serving their jail terms in a female penal, and 58 of 75 minors serving their terms in juvenile correctional facilities.

Prisoners eligible for release under the 2019 amnesty also included foreign nationals, people with disabilities, World War II veterans, military deserters, convicts over 55, and those suffering from cancer or other serious illnesses.  The amnesty also extended to persons serving jail terms for economic crimes if they paid damages.

The amnesty also extended to persons serving their jail terms for serious crimes who have served three-quarters of their terms -- except for those found guilty of murder, terrorism, human trafficking, rape, torture and so forth.

In addition, prison terms of almost 10,000 inmates were shortened.

The amnesty that was declared in Tajikistan in 2014 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Tajikistan’s Constitution extended to 10,000 people, and the amnesty that was declared in Tajikistan in 2011 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the country’s Independence extended to 15,000 people. 

In all, there have been 16 mass amnesties in Tajikistan since it gained its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  It is to be noted that the amnesties have not affected individuals convicted on politically motivated charges.