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Zambian President Gives Death Row Inmates Life Sentences

  • Reuters

FILE - Zambia President Edgar Lungu attends the opening ceremony of the Assembly of Heads of State in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Jan. 30, 2015.

FILE - Zambia President Edgar Lungu attends the opening ceremony of the Assembly of Heads of State in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Jan. 30, 2015.

Zambia's President Edgar Lungu on Thursday reduced the sentence of 332 prisoners awaiting death by hanging to life imprisonment to ease maximum security prison congestion.

Crimes that could be punishable by death include murder, treason and robbery with a deadly weapon, although Zambia has not executed any prisoners since 1997.

During a visit to Mukobeko Maximum Security prison, about 180 km north of Lusaka, Lungu said it was unacceptable for a prison with a capacity of 51 inmates to house hundreds.

"It goes without saying that this is an affront to basic human dignity apart from the health and sanitation challenges that it has created," Lungu said.

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