President Peter Mutharika has pardoned 160 prisoners from the country’s 23 crowded prisons.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Henry Mussa said the President pardoned the prisoners in exercising his powers rendering to the Constitution of Malawi.
He said Article VIII, Section 89, of the Malawi Constitution states that, the President in consultation with an advisory committee may pardon convicted offenders.
“It is within the constitution that the President can make such decision with no specifications on time and occasion,” Mussa said.
The pardon excludes criminals facing serious charges such as rape or sexual offences against young girls, carjacking, armed robbery and murder.
Malawi Prison spokesperson Chimwemwe Mike Shaba said the pardoned prisoners had committed minor cases and had served at least half of their sentences, in addition to their good behavior during their incarceration.
“This action has helped to decongest prisons in regard to the problem of congestion of prisons which Malawi is currently facing,” Shaba said.
He added that the conduct would help to instill discipline among inmates with hope to be considered next time.
Prisons in Malawi, which hold about 13 000 inmates, almost double their capacity, have been described as hell on earth because of their appalling conditions.
Traditionally, President pardons prisoners on public holidays such as Christmas and Independence days.
Last year, Mutharika pardoned 173 prisoners during Independence Day celebrations.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :