Agence France-Presse

Zimbabwean correctional services authorities are reportedly seeking President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s consent to pardon at least 2 000 inmates in-order to ease congestion in the country’s overloaded prisons.

According to the state-owned Chronicle newspaper, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi said that the release of the prisoners was a priority of his ministry’s 100 day plan.

Ziyambi said that his ministry was also working on clearing the 374 mentally ill prisoners to reduce the congestion.

“We want the president as a goodwill gesture to pardon some of the prisoners so that we reduce the prison overload and we hope that within the next 100 days, we will have the president’s consent to pardon some of the prisoners,” Ziyambi was quoted as saying.

He said that the country’s prisons were over capacity as they had at least 19 000 prisoners, more than 2000 of their intended capacity.

Terminally-ill prisoners

The southern African country often pardons inmates, as it tries to free up space in its overcrowded prisons.

At least 2 000 prisoners were released in 2016, with authorities appealing to the released convicts not to return to a life of crime.

All male prisoners under the age of 18 and all female inmates, except two who were serving life sentences, were released at the time.

The pardon was also extended to terminally-ill prisoners and those sentenced to less than three years who had served at least a quarter of their time.

The amnesty did not, however, apply to prisoners jailed for murder, treason, rape, armed robbery, car-jacking or sexual offences.

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