( AP ) - Kyrgyzstan's president signed into law legislation abolishing the death penalty in the poor Central Asian nation, the presidential press service said Wednesday.
The legislation, signed into law by Kurmanbek Bakiyev, replaces the death penalty with life sentences, the press service said.
The bill also introduces other changes to criminal codes and procedures such as requiring arrest warrants to be issued by courts instead of prosecutors and reducing prison terms for some crimes.
According to the human rights organization Kylym Shamy, the new legislation immediately affects 174 convicts now on death row in the ex-Soviet republic.
Kyrgyzstan first introduced a moratorium on the death penalty in 1998, and repeatedly extended it. In 2005, Bakiyev effectively ended the use of the death penalty when he extended the moratorium until its planned abolition.