South Sudan President Salva Kiir has pardoned 48 prisoners from six prisons across the country in a presidential decree issued over the weekend as gesture to usher in New Year.
Anthony Oliver Legge, spokesperson for the National Prisons Service, told Xinhua on Monday that among those who benefited from the presidential pardon include a juvenile. “There is a Republic Order of the New Year 2019 which orders for the release of 48 inmates from six prisons across the country,” said Legge in Juba.
He disclosed that those released include 10 prisoners from Wau prison, Juba 11, Torit 8, Turalei 4 and Kuacjok 15 prisoners respectively. Legge confirmed that the presidential pardon was issued on Sunday by President Kiir in his first decree of the New Year. He also said that some of those released attended vocational training which will help them to integrate into the public.
Legge said that their idea in the prison service is not just to jail the inmates, but to ensure they reform. “I think a big number of them have benefited from training at the vocational centers within the prisons,” he said, adding that the skills acquired will help sustain them upon release. He added that they will cooperate with the Judiciary to speed up trials of those on remand without trial.
South Sudan prisons are grappling with congestion amid case backlogs in the judiciary due to a few qualified judges, leaving so many inmates on remand for several years without trial. South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world. President Salva Kiir, his former deputy and arch rival Riek Machar and several opposition groups in September signed a new power-sharing deal in the Ethiopian capital aimed at ending the five-year old conflict.