Pardoning inmates is among prerogatives of the Head of State often utilised during landmark occasions like Independence Day or Union Day. Usually the president exercises the clemency prerogative on prisoners who are very old, chronically ill or were convicted of minor offences and remain with short periods to serve jail terms while showing good discipline and regretting their offences.
Home Affairs minister Hamad Masauni said in a statement yesterday that the president acted under Article 45(d) of the Constitution, noting that the inmates were processed using 18 criteria, where “a quarter of their sentences were reduced in lieu of a standard one-third reduction under the provisions of chapter 58 of the Prisons Act.”
Certain pardoned inmates had their sentences reduced by a quarter under section 49 (1) of the legislation, he said. Still other beneficiaries of the pardon were sentenced to death and had stayed in prison for 30 years or more, plus those serving life sentences and were in prison for at least 20 years.
The pardon wasn’t extended to those imprisoned for debts or serving sentences under parole, in line with provisions of chapter 291 of the Community Service Act.
People convicted before February 26, 2022, suffering from chronic diseases and have been medically diagnosed that their challenges were at a terminal stage also benefitted, he said.
Other beneficiaries of the pardon were prisoners above 70 years old, those with physical and mental disabilities, female prisoners convicted while being pregnant and lactating mothers who have served a quarter of their sentence.
Those convicted of attempted murder and suicide as well as attempted suicide and served jail for up to 10 years benefitted, the minister noted, while inmates convicted with murdering infants and had served in prison by up to 15 years out of 20 years sentences were included.
Prisoners who have been in prison for five years and above or those jailed for economic sabotage and served in prison for up to 20 years were also freed.
Others benefitting are those who are serving jail for misuse of power and had stayed in prison for up to five years, or those convicted for money laundering and served jail for up to 20 years, the statement indicated.
Prisoners serving jail on corruption sentences for up to 10 years were pardoned, as well as convicts of drug trafficking serving in jail for up to 20 years.
The pardon also touched convicts of children theft or abduction and had served for up to 10 years, plus convicts of theft or embezzlement of public funds and properties, serving in prison for up to 15 years, it added.