President Edgar Lungu has today pardoned 2, 984 inmates to commemorate African Freedom Day which falls on 25th May 2020.
These include 2, 903 ordinary, 55 old aged, three medical cases, 11 compassionate and nine on the President pleasure while 12 are foreign nationals representing about 14 percent of the total inmate population.
Announcing the development at a media briefing today, Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo said among the pardoned under the President’s prerogative of mercy, 155 are females while 2, 829 are males.
Mr Kampyongo said the release of the inmates leaves the inmates population countrywide at 19, 248.
He said this action by President Lungu is in accordance with article 97 of the constitution of Zambia which provides for the Presidential pardon and substitution of severe punishment imposed on convicted persons.
Mr Kampyongo said in an effort to further decongest the correctional facilities due to the COVID-19 threat, his Ministry engaged the Director of Public Prosecution to consider giving bail or outright discharge to over 4,330 unconvinced inmates charged with miner cases and a total of 2, 719 unconvicted persons have been granted unconditional bail.
He said the Zambia Correctional Service has also been working hard to implement measures as directed by the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Kampyongo said the Zambia Correctional Service Officers have also been working hard to ensure public health measures such as social distancing, sanitising, hand washing and wearing of face masks are adhered to during the admission of new or transferred inmates.