Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Monday announced the release of 1,789 Ethiopian prisoners who were serving jail terms in different detention centers of the east African nation.
The Ethiopian prisoners had been jailed as they crossed Tanzania as economic migrants en route to South Africa without legal permit.
A total of 5,533 prisoners enjoyed the pardon by President Magufuli during the 58th-year celebration of the Tanzanian mainland’s Independence Day, which was broadcast live by Tanzania’s state TV.
Ethiopia’s President Sahelework Zewdie attended the celebration and the release of Ethiopian inmates followed bilateral talks between the visiting Ethiopian president and her Tanzanian counterpart.
Magufuli said recently he visited Butimba prison in Mwanza region and found inmates crowded, a situation that was also reflected in other prisons across the country.
He said prisoners who will be qualified for the pardon were all prisoners serving a one-year jail term and those serving long jail terms but they have only one more year to serve.
It is not clear if the pardoned inmates constituted all Ethiopian prisoners in the country.
Magufuli said current statistics indicated that there were 17,547 prisoners and 18,256 remand prisoners awaiting trials, bringing to 35,803 the total number of inmates in the country’s jails.