Zimbabwe amnesty | Thousands of prisoners released

HARARE - There was joy and jubilation as thousands walked out of Zimbabwe’s prisons countrywide this week following the amnesty granted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Over 4,000 people were pardoned under the decision in commemoration of its 44th anniversary of independence.

There were celebrations as hundreds of former inmates walked out of Chikurubi Prison on the outskirts of Harare.

Among the 4,000 granted amnesty were those servicing sentences for crimes, including burglary, unlawful entry and others. 

Female prisoners and the disabled were major beneficiaries of the Independence Day amnesty.

Many of those released say they have been reformed. The amnesty has also brought much-needed relief to prison officials.

Chikurubi Prison head Charles Nyamasoka said, "In one way or the other, this amnesty means we are decongesting prisons. We are releasing them to go home and be with family. There are a smaller number that remain, which is more manageable. Those who have been released are reformed and should be accepted back into society."

This is the second presidential amnesty in a year. 

The first was announced in August in the run-up to elections. 

Zimbabwe’s prisons have a maximum capacity of 17,000 but they were housing much more than that.

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