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Zambian president pardons 2 045 inmates to mark Africa Freedom Day

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has pardoned 2 045 inmates to mark this year’s Africa Freedom Day which falls on May 25, a senior government official said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings.

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has pardoned 2 045 inmates to mark this year’s Africa Freedom Day which falls on May 25, a senior government official said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings.

Published May 25, 2022

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Lusaka - Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has pardoned 2 045 inmates to mark this year’s Africa Freedom Day which falls on May 25, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Ambrose Lifuna, the acting Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, said the inmates include 2 012 ordinary inmates and 33 elderly inmates.

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He told journalists during a press briefing that the Zambian president has also commuted sentences for 607 inmates.

The minister said the move was in line with constitutional powers vested in the president meant to decongest correctional facilities.

According to him, the government has started addressing the problem of congestion in correctional facilities using various means which also include advocating for community sentencing for minor offences.

The government, he said, plans to construct and expand more correctional facilities, which also includes procurement of mattresses and bunk beds to improve conditions.

Zambia’s inmate population stands at 25 242, he added.

Furthermore, the president says they have asked parliament to consider removing the death penalty from the laws of Zambia.

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“With justice as our guiding principle, we protect life, we sanctify life, we celebrate life,” said Hichilema in a Facebook post addressed to the people of Zambia.

According to Human Rights Watch, Zambia’s prison system is in crisis.

Built to accommodate 5 500 prisoners before Zambian independence in 1964, the country’s prisons housed 15 300 in 2009.

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The rights group says that conditions are deplorable, abusive punishments commonplace, and tuberculosis (TB) and HIV a constant threat, with almost no medical services available.

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