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Mnangagwa releases over 4,000 prisoners; moved to decongest crowded prisons

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By Mary Taruvinga


PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has pardoned 4 279 prisoners under the latest presidential amnesty, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS).

This comes at a time Zimbabwean prisons are overpopulated and facing food shortages and disease outbreaks.

A total of 4 166 men and 104 women will be released from the country’s 47 main prisons and eight satellite prisons.

The prisons have a carrying capacity of 17,000 inmates but were holding over 22,000.

“These inmates were being rehabilitated and have been serving for the offences they committed against the state therefore, those aggrieved are encouraged to forgive them for their successful reintegration into society,” said Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) spokesperson Meya Khanyezi in a statement released Thursday.

According to a Statutory Instrument published last week by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs those who have been pardoned include the 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.

Full remission of the remaining period was granted to all those inmates who would have served life imprisonment for at least twenty (20) years.

This includes inmates sentenced to life imprisonment and 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 and 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 was granted 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 for specified offences.

Full remission of the remaining period of imprisonment was also granted for all prisoners 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.