BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—President Lazarus Chakwera Friday pardoned 499 prisoners across the country in a bid to decongest the country’s prisons in the face of the novel Coronavirus which is currently spreading exponentially in the country.
Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda confirmed the development.
It follows reports of rising cases of Covid-19 in the country’s prisons and as of Friday, the prison service had recorded 155 Covid-19 cases across the country.
Malawi Prison Service spokesperson, Chimwemwe Shaba, said they await receipt of all necessary documents from the line ministry to facilitate the release of the prisoners.
Maula prison in Lilongwe transferred all female inmates at the facility to other prisons to create space for an isolation centre amid the spread of the pandemic.
Through the initiative funded by the European Union (EU) to fast-track the review of some prisoners’ cases and decongest the country’s overpopulated prisons, about 1 392 inmates had walked to freedom in April this year.
Prior to the release of the 1 392 prisoners under the Chilungamo (Justice and Accountability) Programme, Malawi Prisons were home to 14 000 inmates against the design capacity of 5 5000, according to Inspectorate of Prisons Report of 2019.
The release of the 1 392 inmates, helped to decongest the prisons amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.