Official: 1,500 Zimbabwe prisoners to be freed

Official: 1,500 Zimbabwe prisoners to be freed

HARARE, Zimbabwe, September 11th, 2009— A Zimbabwe official says 1,500 prisoners are being released across the country under a presidential amnesty program designed to ease overcrowding. 

Elizabeth Banda, manager for Zimbabwe’s prisons, says 150 have already been freed from Harare Central Remand Prison, the first of Zimbabwe’s 46 prisons to begin the program. She said Friday that 1,500 prisoners would be released throughout the day.

President Robert Magus granted amnesty last week to women, juveniles, the terminally ill, and prisoners sentenced to 38 months or less who had served at least a quarter of their sentences.

Zimbabwe’s prisons are harsh and beset by food shortages, with some inmates dying of diarrhea and cholera.

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