Zimbabwe to release inmates in general amnesty

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prisoners
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Thousands of Zimbabwean prisoners are expected to be released this year under a general amnesty meant to decongest the prisons, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa has said.

The Herald newspaper reported Friday that Mutsvangwa told a post-Cabinet meeting briefing late Thursday that dates for the release of the prisoners would be provided once a Presidential proclamation had been made.

She said the decision to decongest the prisons had been taken to ensure the health of inmates, following a proposal from Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi.

According to the Constitution, the President may, after consultations with Cabinet, pardon any person convicted of an offense.

“The rationale behind the proposal is to decongest our prisons, whose population as of Aug. 29, 2022, stood at 22,114 against an official holding capacity of 17,000 inmates. This situation means that 4,798 inmates do not have adequate floor space as required by the Constitution and this compromises the health of inmates, among other challenges,” she said.

Those who have benefited from previous amnesties will not benefit, including those who are serving sentences imposed by a court-martial, those with records of escaping from lawful custody, and those convicted of specified offenses.

The last general amnesty was in 2021 when about 3,000 inmates were released from the country’s 46 prisons at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Enditem

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