Mutharika pardons 283 prisoners from Malawi’s harshest prisons

Malawi President Peter Mutharika has  pardoned 283 prisoners from the country’s overcrowded jails under an amnesty to mark Christmas and New Year, the home affairs ministry said.

Life in Malawi’s Prisons, one meal a day

“The pardon of the 283 prisoners by His Excellency the President is a symbol of forgiveness as the country commemorates its Christmas and New Year celebrations,” a statement signed by Samuel Madula Secretary for Home Affairs and Internal Security said .

The pardoned prisoners had served at least half of their sentences and had behaved well during their incarceration, or had not convicted of serious offences.

Malawi’s 34 prisons, home to about 14,000 inmates, are battling severe overcrowding, which many blame on courts ordering jail sentences for minor offences. The jails were designed to keep 5 000 inmates.

In most prisons, inmates are spending their entire sentences sleeping in a sitting position due to lack of space.

The Prison Inspectorate reported that said conditions in Malawi keep worsening as the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) is on the increase, causing inmates to die unnecessarily.

It  said the current prison conditions in Malawi amounted to torture and degrading treatment.

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