Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday granted an amnesty to some 3,000 people, mostly women and youth, held in overcrowded prisons across the country.
Prison authorities in Zimbabwe said this will facilitate the de-congestion of prisons in the country.
‘‘This will ease the de-congestion of our prisons.” Our prison and correctional capacity in Zimbabwe is 17,000, but currently we have 19,945 inmates, which is well above our detention capacity. about 13 and a few percent’‘, said Elizabeth Banda, Zimbabwe Prison Service spokesperson .
This will ease the de-congestion of our prisons." Our prison and correctional capacity in Zimbabwe is 17,000, but currently we have 19,945 inmates, which is well above our detention capacity. about 13 and a few percent.
The amnesty includes all female prisoners with the exception of those serving life sentences , disabled and under-aged prisoners who are serving sentences of three years and below and have already completed one-quarter.
“I was arrested in 2011 for the murder of an inspector, Petros Mutedza, whom I do not even know how it happened,I was arrested only because of my political party, the MDC-T, and I was sentenced to 20 years in prison “, said political activist Yvonne Musarurwa.
All sick prisoners over the age of 60 who have already completed one third of their sentence will also be released.
Authorities say , those sentenced to death who have been awaiting execution for more than ten years on death row will have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment.
Convicts for murder, treason, rape, robbery or violence and those punished by a court martial are excluded from this amnesty.
In the midst of a severe financial crisis, Zimbabwe has been regularly using mass amnesties in recent years, unable to provide for clothing, food and care for all of its detainees.
In 2013 alone , a hundred of them died due to lack of proper care in 2013.
These poor conditions of detention provoked a wave of riots in 2015 in the penitentiary establishments of the country which had resulted in the death of four prisoners.
Zimbabwe currently has about 20,000 prisoners for a capacity of 17,000 seats.
General elections are scheduled for July, the first since the resignation of Robert Mugabe in November last year , who ruled for thirty-seven years.