Chakwera pardons 52 prisoners as Malawi Christians commemorate Easter

President Lazarus Chakwera has pardoned 52 prisoners from the country’s prisons as part of Easter celebration.

The man with the amazing smile in the photo above is called Mtilosera. He was sentenced to death in 1993 because he had hit a man with a piece of wood in self-defence after the man had attacked his sister. There is evidence that Mtilosera was just sixteen at the time, only a child. Up until recently everyone convicted of murder automatically received the death penalty, whatever the circumstances. In 2007 the High Court of Malawi ruled that unconstitutional, and ordered that every prisoner who had been sentenced to death that way should be brought back to the court for a full sentence rehearing. By the time of his hearing in November 2015, Mtilosera had spent 22 years in prison. He was resentenced to 20 years, which meant that he was immediately released. The project team brought Mtilosera back to his village, where his family and neighbours ran through the fields to greet him, nearly knocking him over with hugs.

Homeland security minister, Richard Chimwendo Banda said those pardoned are reformed prisoners who committed minor offenses.

Those serving sentences for murder or rape have not been pardoned.

This is the second time that Chakwera has pardoned prisoners after the Indepedence celebrations.

Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church is advising its faithful to strictly adhere to covid-19 preventive neasures during this Easter period.

Archbishop Thomas Msusa said people should not relax in the covid-19 adherence because of the low infection positivity rate the country is registering.

In the past 48 hours, the country registered just over 30 new infections and one death.

The appeal comes as the Catholic Church in the country has lost nine priests due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

Christians observe Easter in remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, with Good Friday and Easter Monday being public holidays.

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