- Published on Friday, 27 April 2012 05:45
- Written by DAILY NEWS Reporter
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PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete on Thursday pardoned 2,973 prisoners on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the union between the then Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
The constitution empowers the president to remit the whole or part of any punishment imposed on any person for any offence. The Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Shamsi Vuai Nahodha, said in a statement on Thursday that the presidential clemency covers convicts sentenced to less than five years imprisonment who have served at least a quarter of the jail term.
Mr Nahodha said those pardoned include prisoners suffering from serious diseases like cancer, HIV/Aids and TB currently at a terminal stage. It also covers the elderly above 70-years-old, pregnant women and those who are in jail with their infants, as well as the ones with mental and physical disabilities.
The minister further noted that a panel of experts chaired by a regional or district medical officer must verify the state of a prisoner who was being pardoned on the basis of advanced age, critical infirmity and disability. He, however, said the presidential clemency does not cover those sentenced to death, life imprisonment and those convicted for offences related to trafficking of narcotic drugs such as cocaine, heroin and marijuana.
Others who are not covered include those convicted for crimes related to corruption, abuse of office, armed robbery and robbery with violence, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, rape, sodomy and other sexual offences, as well as abduction of school girls or making them pregnant and preventing children to go to school.
Mr Nahodha further said in the statement that the pardon excludes those convicted for motor vehicle hijacking, theft or destruction of infrastructure. Also excluded are regular offenders (recidivist), escapees, those on parole and prisoners who had their sentences partly remitted by the president but still serving the remainder of the term.
The minister said the government hopes that those pardoned would rejoin the society and lead decent life by avoiding criminal activities.