Thursday, 9 June 2016

PARDONED PRISONERS WRECK HAVOC

Unrepentant criminals that benefited from the Presidential amnesty are believed to be behind a spate of criminal activities countrywide.

One such beneficiary was among four suspected armed robbers who were recently arrested in Bulawayo on allegations of attempting to raid a butchery, which was manned by a security guard.

In a statement, chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said on June 3 at around 2am, a security guard was confronted by four criminals who threatened to stab him with a screwdriver.

The criminals forcibly opened a butchery and before they could steal, police officers who were on patrol intercepted them and they ran away.

Police gave chase and managed to apprehend one of the suspects, who was recently released under the Presidential amnesty.

Last month, President Mugabe pardoned more than 2 000 inmates across the country in a move that was set to de-congest national prisons and promote better living conditions.

This comes as President Mugabe extended the amnesty on May 23 in terms of Section 112 (1) (a) and (d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

The amnesty freed all convicted female prisoners except those on death row or serving life sentences, leaving Chikurubi Female Prison literally empty.

Only two females serving life sentences were left behind. All juveniles were also given their freedom irrespective of the gravity of their crimes as well as all prisoners with life sentences convicted on or before December 25, 1995.

President Mugabe also pardoned all prisoners sentenced to 36 months and below, should they have served a quarter of their sentences by the date of the Government Gazette dated May 23.

All terminally-ill prisoners serving long terms irrespective of offences committed were released from Connemara Open Prison while inmates aged above 60 years, who have served two thirds of their sentences were also released.

All inmates convicted of stock theft were also freed. However, murder, treason, rape, armed robbery, car-jacking, sexual offences or violence-driven offences would not qualify for the Presidential pardon.

Habitual criminals were not freed, while prisoners on death row, or those facing life imprisonment also remained behind bars. herald

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