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Prisoners freed as Ramadan ends

women pray
Indonesian women in prayers to mark the end of Ramadan  

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Hundreds of prisoners have been freed in Indonesia to mark the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and the Christian Christmas festival.

Around the world, Muslims marked the end of Ramadan with prayers and celebrations.

In Afghanistan, weary fighters emerged from the mountains and piled into mud-walled mosques, then announced what they called a final assault on al Qaeda forces.

Elsewhere in this central Asian country, American forces were distributing holiday cakes to Afghans to celebrate Islam's most important festival, Eid al-Fitr.

Just this week alone, the UNHCR said that 7,000 Afghans returned home through the Chaman border crossing point from Pakistan's Balochistan province, and it has been reported that many of them may be returning for Eid festivities


According to Indonesia's official news agency Antara, 1510 convicts will be freed.

Justice Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra, said almost 30,000 prisoners would also have their sentences reduced.

Indonesia is the world's biggest Muslim country, and traditionally grants clemency twice a year.

Most of the freed Indonesian prisoners will walk free later on Sunday. Antara gave no further details and it was not clear what crimes those to be freed had committed, but political prisoners were among them.

Indonesia usually also grants clemency on August 17 to celebrate the country's independence from its former colonial masters the Dutch.


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