A presidential pardon will see 1 023 petty crime offenders set free next month. The offenders will gain their freedom after being pardoned by President Hage Geingob in commemoration of the 30th independence anniversary. The pardon and reprieving of sentences is in line with the Namibian Constitution Article 32, which gives the head of state powers to pardon reformed prisoners. Safety and security minister Frans Kapofi welcomed the gesture on Wednesday, saying the decision gave a second chance, new life and independence to those who are eligible for the pardon and reprieve. “The practical implications of a pardon is that the sentenced offender is relieved of his sentence under certain conditions while reprieve translate into a reduced sentence,” explained Kapofi.
He clarified offenders convicted for major crimes such as murder, attempted murder, rape, treason, assault causing grievous bodily harm, robbery with aggravating circumstances, housebreaking with aggravating circumstances and illicit possession, conveyance or supply of dependence-producing drugs do not qualify for the pardon or reprieve. Furthermore, those convicted for offences under the Nature Conservation Ordinance, Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act or illicit dealing in or smuggling of ammunition, firearms, explosives or armament will also not qualify for release. Kapofi further explained repeated offenders, including those who were pardoned before, escaped from prison or those with further pending cases, will also not be released. The minister said amongst those that qualify are “those of the age of 60 years or older and who have, during the period of incarceration in a correctional facility, maintained good discipline and shown good character and who, once released, are likely not to pose any risk to society.” The head of prisons Commissioner General Raphael Hamunyela yesterday told New Era that those being released are those who committed petty crimes and their name will be made available on 21 June after they have been gazetted.
President Hage Geingob