Zimbabwe Grants Some Prisoners Amnesty, Which May Ease Overcrowded Jails

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Emmerson Mnangagwa Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered an amnesty for prisoners including women who’re not serving life sentences and juveniles, potentially easing overcrowding in the southern African nation’s jails.

Prisoners sentenced to 36 months or less will also be given amnesty, as will the terminally ill, the prisons service said Wednesday in an emailed statement. Those sentenced to life before March 1998 will be granted remission, and those who’ve been on death row for 10 years or more will have their sentences commuted to life, it said.

About 3,000 people will benefit, the prison service’s assistant commissioner, Alford Mashango Dube, told reporters in the capital, Harare. He put the current prison population at “plus or minus” 20,000 in 46 facilities, against a holding capacity of 17,000.

(Updates with number who may benefit in third paragraph.)
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