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Ferghana News (08.12.2017) – http://bit.ly/2yeTt9L – President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev has pardoned 2,700 convicts by his decree, reports the National News Agency of Uzbekistan on 6 December.

The agency emphasises that it is just the pardon, not an amnesty. An amnesty would have released prisoners who had committed certain types of crimes or can be related to a certain group (women, veterans, foreigners). A case of pardoning a prisoner is considered individually. Amnesty is held regularly in Uzbekistan (in October 2016, 37.9 thousand people were amnestied), while the mass pardon comes for the first time.

Since September 2017, special commissions have travelled to prisons, communicated to inmates, delved into the details of their cases. As a result, 956 prisoners had been identified for early release. Besides, the pardon will apply to 1,744 citizens, whose conviction is not connected with imprisonment. Members of the commissions concluded that various circumstances pushed these convicts to crime, but now they repent their deeds and pose no risk to the public safety.

Pardon is timed to the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of Uzbekistan. The anniversary will be celebrated on 8 December. The national news agency notes that the pardon decision will be “another vivid confirmation of the humanistic orientation of democratic transformations in all spheres of life of the state and society.”

According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, as of 2017, Uzbekistan ranks 101st in the world regarding the number of prisoners. There are 150 prisoners per 100,000 residents in the country, 43,900 people are kept in places of deprivation of liberty.

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Also:

HRWF database of news and information on over 70 countries: http://hrwf.eu/newsletters/human-rights-in-the-world/

List of hundreds of documented cases of believers of various faiths in 20 countries: http://hrwf.eu/forb/forb-and-blasphemy-prisoners-list/