Weah Grants 500 Inmates clemency -In the Spirit of the Bicentennial celebration

President George M. Weah has issued a proclamation granting clemency, ordering the Ministry of Justice to pardon five (500) hundred inmates where applicable from prison facilities in the country and specified that those expected to be pardoned including those who committed misdemeanor and capital offenses but excluded rapists and armed robbers.

Addressing a special press conference yesterday at the Executive Mansion, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Dean of the Cabinet, the decision was taken by the President to address the issue of over crowdedness at the various prison centers in the country which has posed serious health and environmental challenges, security threats to the society and to have the citizens to be happy in the spirit of the bicentennial. He said the proclamation specified those expected to be pardoned to include those who committed misdemeanor and capital offenses but rapists and armed robbers are not included.

Minister McGill said the decision was in accordance with Article 59 of the 1986 constitution which vests in him the power and authority to grant reprieves, suspend fines, sentences and pardon anyone convicted and sentenced. Article 59 of the 1986 constitution states that “The President may remit any public forfeiture and penalties, suspend any fines and sentences, grant reprieves and pardons, and restore civil rights after conviction for all public offenses, except impeachment”.

“As Liberians joyously celebrate 200 years of existence as a nation and people, the President has further directed the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General to submit to his Office a list of persons to be pardoned during these festive celebrations. The President has also called on all Liberians to reconcile their differences and transform Liberia into a haven of peace”, the proclamation said.

Political pundits reacting to gestures from the president are of the opinion that it also follows a tradition where Liberian Chief Executives use festive periods like the independence day and Christmas period to grant clemency and pardon prisoners serving terms for various crimes or offenses and were convicted for the acts by courts in the country.

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