ASHGABAT, February 13 (RIA Novosti) – Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov pardoned 859 prisoners, some of them foreigners, by decree Thursday, national TV reported.
“Observing the tradition of mercy, I sign a decree to pardon 859 citizens in line with the National Flag Day celebrations,” Berdymukhamedov said.
The president told police and penitentiary authorities to ensure that all pardoned prisoners returned to their homes so that they could celebrate the holiday with their families.
The identities and citizenship of pardoned prisoners were not stated in the report.
The head of state traditionally pardons prisoners three or four times a year to celebrate national holidays in the Central Asian state.
Turkmenistan authorities do not publish official statistics about prisoners. Berdymukhamedov said recently, however, that the number of prisoners “does not exceed 10,000 people” from a population of about 5 million.