Zim, Mozambique in prisoners' transfer deal

HARARE - Zimbabwe and Mozambique yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which will see convicted inmates from both countries being transferred to serve sentences in their countries of origin.

The MoU emanated from resolutions of a Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security meeting whose memorandum of agreement (MoA) sort to develop bilateral cooperation of the criminal justice system.

Vice President and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa said the MoU will be used to formulate a legal framework for cooperation on rehabilitation of offenders, human resource development and exchange visits.

Mnangagwa also said once operational, the 2011 MoA should provide for the transfer of convicted persons in accordance with the agreements’ provisions.

“...a person sentenced in the territory of either party may be transferred to the territory of the other party. This will promote rehabilitation of inmates as they will be in a position to get visits from their relatives. All this will then enhance rehabilitation of inmates which is incidentally, the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services’ constitutional mandate,” Mnangagwa said.

He added that the primary objective is to establish a framework for cooperation between parties on how best to improve the standards of service within the prisons and correctional institutions. Mnangagwa said the MoU is also aimed at improving the quality of service delivery provided by Zimbabwe and Mozambique’s prisons and correctional services departments to the benefit of inmates and society.

“The cooperation would further the ends of justice and social rehabilitation of the sentenced persons as well as addressing issues pertinent to foreigners who are deprived of their liberty because of the commission of a criminal offence and giving them an opportunity to serve their sentences within their own society,” he said.

Mozambique’s Justice minister Chande Isaque said the exchange programme development was most welcome.

“Though the number of inmates is not large, the developments are very positive. It will be good to facilitate people to be close to their relatives as they will be better rehabilitated at home,” Isaque said.

On May 25, more than 2 000 inmates were released from Zimbabwe’s 46 correctional facilities on Presidential Clemency Order.

All juveniles and female inmates were released with the exception of two women serving life sentences and 12 foreigners awaiting deportation.

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