Maldives pres expected to grant clemency to 300 inmates

Home Minister Azleen awards a medal to a Maafushi Prison inmate for completing a course conducted by the Institute for Correctional Services. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

Home Minister Azleen awards a medal to a Maafushi Prison inmate for completing a course conducted by the Institute for Correctional Services. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has decided to grant clemency to inmates, declared Minister of Home Affairs Azleen Ahmed late Sunday, expressing hopes that leniency will be shown to 200 or 300 inmates currently in detention.

Speaking at the ceremony held at Maafushi Prison to award certificates to inmates who have completed various courses, Minister Azleen stated that by clemency, it does not mean the president will pardon the crimes entirely. He elaborated that this leniency will be granted to inmates sans those convicted of major crimes such as murder and assault, based on their obedience and behaviour during their sentences.

The president is also looking to compile regulations to grant pardon for convicts, adhering to strict categories that steer away from serious crimes.

The category for major and serious crimes include murder, terrorism, child abuse, drug trafficking and rape.

“I’m certain that by filtering through [minor] crimes, around 200 or 300 individuals will receive this benevolent leniency,” said the Home Minister.

The certificates were awarded to the inmates that completed various courses such as sewing, agriculture, carpentry, memorisation of the Holy Quran among others. The courses were conducted by the Institute for Correctional Studies and are recognised by the Maldives Qualification Authority.

Minister Azleen also declared that the current conditions of Maafushi Prison are “as different as the sky and earth” compared to a decade prior, noting that the ministers and government officials that attended the certificate awarding ceremony was a sight previously unseen.

Addressing the inmates, who received their certificates in formal wear, the minister urged them to adhere to discipline and good behaviour, and not lose hope for leniency and a better future.

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