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Zimbabwe Marks Independence With Presidential Pardon For Thousands of Inmates



Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa issued a sweeping amnesty on independence day, granting clemency to over 4,000 prisoners, including some formerly on death row.

The amnesty, marking 44 years since the country gained independence from white minority rule, prioritizes vulnerable groups such as women, juveniles, the elderly, and the terminally ill. Death row prisoners who have been in jail for at least 10 years had their sentences commuted to life in prison under the amnesty.

Under the presidential order, inmates previously sentenced to death, whose sentences were commuted to life imprisonment, are eligible for release after serving at least 20 years in prison. Female prisoners who served at least one-third of their sentence by independence day, along with juvenile inmates meeting the same criteria, are also set to be freed.

Additionally, prisoners aged 60 and above who have completed one-tenth of their sentences, as well as individuals with disabilities, including the blind, who served one-third of their sentence, will benefit from the amnesty.


However, the amnesty excludes individuals convicted of specified offenses, such as sexual offenses, robbery, public violence, unlawful possession of firearms, human trafficking, and vandalism of essential infrastructure.

The prisoners are being released in batches across the country.

Despite the amnesty, Zimbabwe still has more than 60 inmates on death row, with the fate of these prisoners uncertain.

President Mnangagwa’s move to grant clemency aligns with previous efforts to address prison overcrowding and improve conditions within Zimbabwe’s correctional facilities. Last May, he issued a similar amnesty that aimed to alleviate congestion in the country’s prisons, which often face harsh conditions due to overcrowding.
Mnangagwa has expressed support for abolishing the death penalty, with the proposal awaiting approval from Parliament.
Although Zimbabwe retains capital punishment on its statutes, the country has not conducted any executions since 2005. Mnangagwa’s push for abolition reflects a broader trend across Africa and the world, with numerous countries moving towards ending the practice of capital punishment in favor of more humane alternatives.

Melissa Enoch


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Source link: Arise News/

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