According to the decree on the mass amnesty signed by Berdymukhammedov, 834 inmates, including four foreign nationals, will be released from prisons. (file photo)
ASHGABAT -- Relatives of inmates in Turkmenistan say they were forced to pay up to $2,000 to secure the inclusion of their loved ones on lists of inmates affected by a recent mass amnesty by President Serdar Berdymukhammedov.
According to several men and women who spoke to RFE/RL on condition of anonymity on September 26, they had to pay bribes to police officers who investigated the cases of their relatives and to prosecutors involved in the cases to make sure that their incarcerated relatives would be included in the clemency.
Representatives from prosecutors' offices and law enforcement structures in Ashgabat were not immediately available for comment.
According to the decree on the mass amnesty signed by Berdymukhammedov, 834 inmates, including four foreign nationals, will be released from prisons.
One of the world's most isolated and repressive countries, Turkmenistan marks its independence on September 27.
Serdar Berdymukhammedov took over the tightly controlled former Soviet republic in March from his authoritarian father, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who ruled the nation with an iron fist from 2006.