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Kazakhstan Prepares Major Prison Amnesty

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by December 7, 2016 General

The Kazakh Parliament’s lower chamber has approved a bill on an amnesty for some 30,000 people who are behind bars in the Central Asian nation.

President Nursultan Nazarbaev proposed the amnesty to mark the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence, and the Mazhilis approved it on December 7.

The bill is expected to be approved by the upper chamber, the Senate, and signed into law by Nazarbaev before Independence Day on December 16.

Deputy Prosecutor-General Iogan Merkel has said that the amnesty would affect 30,000 convicts and people held in pretrial detention.

He said 1,800 of them would be freed and the rest would have their prison terms shortened.

Merkel also said that some 36,000 people are currently either serving prison sentences or awaiting trial in the country of 17 million.

Kazakhstan’s last mass amnesty for prisoners was adopted in 2011 in honor of the 20th anniversary of the independence and affected nearly 27,000 prisoners.

Kazakhstan announced its independence on December 16, 1991, the last of the 15 Soviet republics to do so.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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