Similar amnesty was granted in 2020 to stem spread of coronavirus in detention facilities
Zimbabwean authorities released on Friday a total of 4,270 prison inmates following a presidential amnesty ahead of general elections later this year.
“We would like to appeal to society at large to embrace and accept the inmates who have been released,” Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) said in a statement.
“Those aggrieved are encouraged to forgive them,” ZPCS added.
The African country’s over 50 detention centers have a capacity to hold about 17,000 prisoners, but held more than 22,000 before the pardon.
ZPCS spokesperson Meya Khanyezi, however, rejected an impression that the move was not meant to decongest jails, saying it was a noble gesture by the president.
The amnesty was granted to different groups of prisoners including those who have served at least three-quarters of their sentence or one-tenth if over the age of 60.
But violent criminals and those serving time for robbery, treason and public order, and security offenses were excluded.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa granted a similar amnesty in 2020 to stem the spread of coronavirus in detention facilities.
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