©️ THE Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) yesterday released the first group of 1 680 prisoners who benefited under the presidential amnesty.
Out of the targeted 5 000 inmates, 3 320 failed the amnesty test as they were convicted of serious offences and have not yet served at least half their sentences, as per the requirements, and of the 1 680 only 53 women benefited from the amnesty.
According to an amnesty published in the Government Gazette under General Notice 673 of 2020, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, pardoned the prisoners in terms of section 112(1)(a) and (d) of the Constitution whereby full remission of the remaining period of imprisonment was granted to all female prisoners, save for those convicted of specified offences.
Specified offences, according to the gazette, include murder, treason, rape or any sexual offence, carjacking, robbery, stock theft, public violence, any conspiracy, incitement or attempt to commit any of these offences or being an accessory after the fact to any of the aforementioned offences.
The amnesty is aimed at decongesting prisons and alleviating challenges faced by ZPCS.
This also comes at a time when Zimbabwe’s prisons have been calling on government to speed up prisoners’ amnesty amid coronavirus spread fears, given the overpopulation of the country’s prisons.
In addition to pardoning all female prisoners except those with specified offences, Mnangagwa also pardoned all juvenile prisoners under the age of 18 who have served a third of their sentence, except for those convicted of specified offences.
The pardon was also extended to prisoners who have been bed-ridden for a prolonged period without recovery upon certification by a correctional medical officer or a government medical officer, all prisoners serving a term of imprisonment at the Open Prison regardless of offences committed as well as all prisoners aged 70 and above, who have served half of their sentence by the date of gazetting of the amnesty, save for those convicted of specified offences.
The pardon, however, excluded prisoners who were previously released on amnesty, those serving a sentence imposed by a Court Martial, have record of escaping from lawful custody and those who were convicted of committing any specified offence.
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