ED frees 3 000 prisoners under amnesty

HARARE - Government yesterday freed 3 000 inmates under an amnesty as prisons struggle to feed inmates due to lack of funding from the government.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa granted the clemency that will benefit all convicted female prisoners, juveniles, those terminally ill and those serving at the open prison.

Mnangagwa also freed inmates convicted to life imprisonment on or before February 28, 1998 for male prisoners and those sentenced on or before February 29, 2010 for female prisoners.

However, the amnesty was not extended to those convicted of murder, rape, carjacking and armed robbery and those who have benefitted from a previous amnesty.

This would imply that high profile rape convicts such as former Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke and clergyman Robert Martin Gumbura would continue to serve their sentences.

Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service public relations officer Priscilla Mthembo said the presidential pardon would help decongest the country’s overpopulated prisons.

“Our 46 prisons nationwide are overpopulated. We have a holding capacity of 17 000, but we have been holding over 19 000 prisoners,” she said.

“This shows that we are overpopulated with over 16 percent and this presidential pardon will go a long way in decongesting our prisons and facilitating good living conditions for those that remain behind.”

She also called on the public to be receptive to the pardoned inmates.

“We are appealing to the people of Zimbabwe to embrace togetherness and accept the inmates, giving them a second chance to life through supporting them in different endeavours to earn a better living,” she said.

“Inmates should not take this pardon for granted, let them go out there and exhibit the spirit of Ubuntu and respect laws of the country.”

Habitual criminals will not be freed.

The president can exercise the powers enshrined under the prerogative of mercy covered in sections 112 (1)(a), (c) and (d) of the Constitution to free prisoners.

The prerogative of mercy refers to the right and power of a sovereign, state president, or other supreme authority to commute a death sentence, to change the mode of execution, or to pardon an offender.

Comments (3)

Why do you preach gender equality and when it comes to freeing prisoners women are favoured.Hypocrites

solilo - 22 March 2018

vari padeath row dont deserve it

g40 - 23 March 2018


a mzondo - 3 April 2018

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