South Africa frees 35,000 prisoners

South Africa frees 35,000 prisoners

PanARMENIAN.Net - South African authorities have said they are releasing up to 35,000 inmates to ease overcrowding in the nation's prisons, Belfast Telegraph reported.

Police minister Nathi Mthethwa said some 14,600 prisoners would be released "conditionally or unconditionally", along with more than 20,000 offenders on probation or parole who qualify to have sentences cut.

President Jacob Zuma announced the pardons, known as special remission of sentences, to mark the anniversary of Nelson Mandela winning the nation's first all-race elections in 1994.

Mr Mthethwa said violent criminals and those jailed for sexual, drug-related and weapons offences will not be freed.

Prison overcrowding is being reduced from 34% over capacity to about 20%.

Since 1994, prisoners have been amnestied on several symbolic occasions.

 Top stories
"We are concerned about the state of the European project," the foreign ministers of the Six said in a statement after talks.
The Siege Watch report says 1.09 million people are living in 46 besieged communities in Syria, far more than the 18 listed by the UN.
Rebel-held areas in and around Aleppo are still home to 350,000 people, and aid workers have said they could soon fall to the government.
The launch would be in defiance of repeated warnings by governments who suspect it is a banned test of ballistic missile technology.
Partner news