Mugabe 'frees prisoners as cash crunch bites'

Cape Town – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has reportedly ordered the release of at least 2 000 prisoners at a time when government finances "are desperately stretched".

The development comes a few months after an official told a parliamentary committee that more than 100 prisoners had died from hunger and other nutrition-related illnesses, claims that were later denied by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

According to a newzimbabwe.com report Deputy Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services in charge of administration, Huggins Machingauta confirmed that at least 2 000 inmates were expected to be released.

The Herald reported that the presidential pardon was expected to benefit mostly females and juveniles.

The report said there were 18 980 prisoners in Zimbabwe’s 42 prisons.

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