Pardon me? Malawi prisoners riot over presidential reprieve


Officials say rioting prisoners in Malawi have briefly stalled the release of convicts who had been granted presidential pardons.

Malawi's President Joyce Banda. (AFP)

Two days after President Joyce Banda pardoned 377 prisoners to mark the nation's 48th independence anniversary, prisoners at Zomba Central Prison just outside the commercial hub of Blantyre on Sunday disrupted the release of 34 of those pardoned. Prisoners shouted to reporters outside the prison that one of those pardoned was a rapist and another was a murderer.

Those convicted of serious crimes are not usually eligible for pardons. Banda's spokesperson, Steve Nhlane, said on Sunday that the president was unaware of any serious criminals on her pardon list.

Police helped prison guards quell the riot. Prison spokesperson Evance Phiri said later that the 34 who had been pardoned were eventually released. – Sapa-AP

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