As the Ashgabat correspondent of Turkmenistan.ru reports referring to the State News Service (TDH), Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov chaired a government meeting yesterday that was attended by heads of law enforcing agencies and military structures. The main point on the agenda was issues related to the forthcoming Night of Omnipotence, Gadyr Gijesi, the holy night for all Muslims. To mark this date, Turkmenistan has been granting pardon to convicts, who abused the law and were imprisoned, since 1999.
According to the president, since that time, Turkmenistan has strictly followed this kind tradition by amnestying annually some 7-8 thousand convicts who repented sincerely and wanted to return to a decent life. At the meeting, the head of Turkmenistan signed a decree according to which 10056 convicts, including almost all women serving their term for various crimes, as well as foreign nationals will be released from prison. Having underlined that all of them must get back home by October 19, the president ordered that the decree and complete list of pardoned convicts should be published in "Turkmenistan", "Watan" and "Adalat" newspapers. The head of state also instructed governors of provinces and districts together with officers of the law enforcing agencies to take care of the employment and adaptation of pardoned people originating from the respective regions.
Later, the president listened to a report by the chairman of a relevant state commission, minister of national security of Turkmenistan, Geldymukhammed Ashirmukhammedov, on the work conducted to this effect. As the minister reported, each of the pardoned convicts has been interviewed individually. Convicts expressed sincere regret and firm desire to stand on the path of correction which is vividly evidenced by the fact that some Manat 36,400 billion have been voluntarily returned to the state. All these funds have been transferred to special accounts in the Central Bank of Turkmenistan. Along with Turkmen citizens, 253 foreign nationals from 11 countries will be released on the eve of the Night of Omnipotence, Geldymukhammed Ashirmukhammedov said.
Having thanked the chairman of the state commission and heads of the law enforcing agencies for their great work, Saparmurat Niyazov has reiterated the importance of providing assistance to all those who will soon be released. The president also said that this year 8 people who were imprisoned for taking part in the terror act committed in Turkmenistan on November 25, 2002 with a view to staging a coup d'etat, and who then sincerely repented will be set free.
"Let this humane act on the part of the state serve strengthening truly moral values of the Turkmen society. Let the entire world know that there has never been a place for evil and violence on the blessed Turkmen soil," Niyazov emphasized.