Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni has pardoned 833 prisoners in an attempt to reduce overcrowding in prisons during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A list of more than 1,000 convicts was presented to Mr Museveni for consideration. It included people who were found guilty of petty offences and had served three-quarters of their sentence.
Petty crimes can include being idle and disorderly, theft or common assault, and can attract a sentence of anywhere between one month to two years in custody.
Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and the elderly were given priority for the pardon.
The number, however, does not greatly reduce the country’s prison population of almost 63,000.
Nevertheless, Frank Baine, the spokesperson for the Uganda Prisons Service, said: “A reduction is a reduction.”
He told the BBC that as nearly half of all the country’s inmates are waiting for their trials to start or finish, they would not have been considered for pardoning.
According to World Prison Brief, an online database, Uganda’s prisons have a population three times their capacity.
There are 79 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 49 recoveries in Uganda. There have been no positive cases in detention facilities.
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