WASHINGTON D.C. —
The Constitutional Court Wednesday made a landmark ruling in favour of inmates serving life sentences when it ruled that they have a right to parole.
Human rights lawyer Tendai Biti, who took the case to the Constitutional Court, said he was pleased with this ruling although these prisoners already had a right to a presidential pardon in terms of Chapter 5 Section 112 of the Constitution.
“The prisoners already had the right to clemency by the president in terms of Section 112 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, so we didn’t go to court to fight for something that is already in the constitution,” Biti said.
He said instead they argued that life doesn’t mean life because a prisoner sentenced to life has got the rights to seek parole through independent adjudication, rather than waiting for the president’s mercy.
“There must be an independent body other than the executive which considers whether this person has been corrected, this person has been rehabilitated, and if he has been corrected or rehabilitated he should go out.”