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За демократию и права человека в Туркменистане  For Democracy and Human Rights in Turkmenistan
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17.02.2017, 20:51 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Turkmen President Berdymukhammedov Sworn In

Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has been sworn in for a third seven-year term as Turkmenistan's president.

At the inauguration ceremony in Ashgabat on February 17, the authoritarian leader placed his right hand on the country's constitution and took the presidential oath of office.

Berdymukhammedov, 59, secured a third in office by winning 97.69 percent of the vote in the February 12 election.

The Central Election Commission announced that more than 97 percent of eligible voters had turned out. But RFE/RL correspondents saw only a trickle of voters at several polling stations in the capital, Ashgabat.

Berdymukhammedov maintains strict control over all aspects of society and was all but guaranteed to defeat the other eight candidates, who were widely seen as window-dressing for the vote.

No parliamentary or presidential election held in Turkmenistan has been deemed free or fair by international monitors since the country gained independence in the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Based on reports by and Interfax

16.02.2017, 20:44 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Turkmen President Pardons More Than 800 Prisoners

State media in Turkmenistan are reporting that 828 prisoners have been pardoned by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.

Media outlets quote Berdymukhammedov as saying the amnesty was linked to the Central Asian country's Flag Day holiday marked on February 19.

According to the reports, Berdymukhammedov signed the amnesty decree on February 12 «following a long-established noble tradition» at the joint session of the cabinet and the State Security Council.

Berdymukhammedov's predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, issued similar amnesty decrees once a year during the holy month of Ramadan.

Berdymukhammedov - an authoritarian ruler who controls all aspects of Turkmen society - has issued such decrees several times a year, usually on the eve of state holidays.

His last clemency, announced in December, pardoned 561 inmates on the eve of Neutrality Day, which is on December 12.

Such clemencies usually do not cover inmates convicted on politically motivated charges.

Based on reporting by and Interfax

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