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Mugabe Commended for Pardoning Hundreds of Female Prisoners

FILE: Some female prisoners in a correctional center in Zimbabwe.

Some Zimbabweans have commended President Mugabe for pardoning more than 2,000, including all women except two that are serving life sentences or on death row for murder.

According to Reuters news agency and the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Mr. Mugabe granted the amnesty Monday through a government notice without stating the reason for making the move. The prisons services started releasing some of the inmates Wednesday.

Indications are that Zimbabwe has 580 female inmates in 46 prisons. Efforts to get comment from the Zimbabwe Prison and Corrections Services were fruitless.

Rita Nyamupinga, Female Prisoners’s Support Trust - an organisation that assists women prisoners told Voice Of America Studio 7's Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye that there is still a lot that needs to be done to ensure that those pardoned can be re-integrated into their families and some grieving societies.

"This is a good move but we need to make sure that systems are in place to ensure that those released are reintegrated into the society respectfully without stigma,” said Mrs Nyamupinga.

She said some of the women may not have simple things like transport fare to return to their families who also have to receive counselling to prepare them for the return of their family member unexpectedly.

The pardon came at a time when most organisations who work with inmates especially women were unaware but say they will use their networks to ensure that those needing assistance receive it.

"We are going to appeal to some of our partners under the Women's Coalition Of Zimbabwe to that we collect the assistance we may need to help some of the women who started being released Wednesday," added Mrs Nyamupinga.

Interview With Rita Nyamupinga, Female Prisoner's Support Trust
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