Turkmenistan pardons 2,000 prisoners in amnesty: Report

The amnesty was aimed at "consolidating the unity of Turkmen society”.

Ashgabat: Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov pardoned almost 2,000 prisoners for a national holiday, the state daily Neitralny
Turkmenistan reported on Friday.

The amnesty was aimed at "consolidating the unity of Turkmen society”, the newspaper added.

It was the 12th amnesty ordered by the President since he took power in the secretive Central Asian state in 2006 following the death of his predecessor, the eccentric dictator Saparmurat Niyazov.

In the last amnesty in September, he pardoned 4,000 prisoners to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. While numerous political prisoners have been pardoned in the amnesties, many more remain in jail, rights campaigners say.

Berdymukhamedov`s detractors accuse him of trampling on human rights and creating a cult of personality similar to that of his predecessor, with his giant portrait decorating government buildings.