Lungu pardons 500 prisoners


PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has pardoned 500 prisoners from different prisons around the country. Those pardoned include 10 that are terminally ill who were released in the first week of this month. Mr Lungu also ordered the discharge of 14 aged inmates. Zambia Prisons Service deputy public relations officer Stephan Kagoli, who confirmed this in an interview, said all the 500 inmates had been reunited with their families. The release was the prerogative of mercy exercised by the Head of State as enshrined in the Constitution. Mr Kagoli said the decision to pardon the prisoners was also aimed at decongesting the prisons across the country in line with the requirements of the human rights. “This is a presidential pardon and the 500 have been drawn from different prisons across the country, but it is also in line with human rights requirements and to decongest the prisons. “The recommendations were made after thorough screening and we are convinced that these prisoners do not pose any danger to society,” Mr Kagoli said. He said the prisons had been overwhelmed by the number of inmates and any measures aimed at decongesting the facilities was welcome. The Government was promoting a public-private partnership in the expansion of prisons. The latest amnesty by President Lungu brings the number of inmates released to 1,002 after the Head of State discharged 502 on Christmas Eve last year.