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Mnangagwa grants amnesty to thousands of non-violent inmates

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By Mary Taruvinga


PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has granted amnesty to thousands of prisoners across the country.

The prisoners who were granted amnesty include terminally ill female prisoners and juveniles who are not serving specified offences.

Those to be released would have served one-third of their sentences by April 18 2023 while those who remain behind bars are convicts serving time for violence-related offences.

This was revealed in a Statutory Instrument of an Extraordinary Government Gazette published earlier this week by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in terms of the Constitution.

Reads the notice: “Full remission of the remaining period of imprisonment is hereby granted to all those inmates serving for specified offences provided the inmate would have served three quarters (3/4) of the sentence after the usual one-third (1/3) remission by 18th April 2023. Inmates serving for public violence, robbery, treason, the Electricity Act, Postal and Telecommunications Act and Public Order and Security Act/ Maintenance of Peace and Order Act are excluded.

“Full remission of the remaining period is hereby granted to all those inmates who would have served life imprisonment for at least twenty (20) years. This includes (a) inmates sentenced to life imprisonment; (b) inmates whose sentences were commuted from death to life imprisonment. In this case, the period of 20 years will include the period when the inmate was serving as a Prisoner under sentence of death; (e) inmates whose sentences were altered to life imprisonment on appeal or review.”

Commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment was granted to all inmates who have been on death row for ten years and above.

Full remission of the remaining period of imprisonment was also granted to all inmates who are certified by a correctional medical officer or a Government medical officer to be blind, and those who are physically challenged to the extent that they cannot be catered for in a prison or correctional environment regardless of offence committed.

An additional one-quarter remission of the effective term of imprisonment to those prisoners who were sentenced to more than 48 months and who would have served at least one-third of the sentence.

This category is not meant to benefit inmates serving sentences for specified offences.

The notice also says full remission of the remaining period of imprisonment has been granted for all prisoners aged 60 years and above, and who would have served one-tenth (1/10) of their sentence by 18th April 2023 regardless of offence committed and save for those sentenced to life imprisonment, death and those convicted for public violence.

“Full remission of the remaining period of imprisonment is hereby granted to all those inmates serving for specified offences provided the inmate would have served three quarters (3/4) of the sentence after the usual one-third remission by 18th April 2023. Inmates serving for public violence, robbery, treason, Electricity Act, Postal and Telecommunications Act and Public Order and Security Act/ Maintenance of Peace and Order Act are excluded,” reads the notice.