RUBAVU — Thirty five inmates from Gisenyi main prison have been pardoned and were thus freed from prison after serving a quarter of their sentences.
The inmates were released on January 19 following a government directive after appraisal indicated that they had exhibited good conduct and discipline while in prison.
They had been convicted of different charges including corruption, drug trafficking, abortion, and robbery among other crimes.
According to the Rubavu High Court chief prosecutor, Victor Ntagengwa, their release was a legal provision that benefits some well behaved prisoners.
‘Rwandan law gives chance of freedom to well-behaved inmates who have served a quarter of their sentence, it’s in this regard that we have pardoned these 35 inmates who were convicted of various crimes to join the Rwandan society and contribute to the development of the country’, said Ntagengwa.
He called upon those who who have been released to maintain the discipline they showed in jail after reintegration and too work hard towards the development of their households and the country.
‘You should respect and take part in the implementation of the government policies. If any one of you gets involved in any other crimes, he or she will be re-arrested and detained’, he warned, adding ‘You should do your best to be reformed and responsible citizens’.
Calling upon citizens to embrace the group and to enable them live together in harmony, Ntagengwa told the former prisoners that the punishment they got should serve as a deterrent and as a lesson for a foundation for permanent and positive changes.
‘Some of these prisoners have committed crimes against some members of the community. However residents should consider them changed people and as such they should be fully embraced into society as a show of unity and love for the reformed’, he said, further urging local leaders to always monitor the behaviour of these persons.
According to Ntagengwa the prosecution expected periodic reports from local leaders about the conduct of the pardoned individuals in society.
Those pardoned are also required to report to the prosecution on the last Friday of each month with a caveat of not being expected to move out of the country until they are fully discharged, according to Ntagengwa.
This, he said, will help the prosecution to closely monitor their behavioural changes.
The excited group thanked the government for their release and promised to remain law-abiding citizens.
‘I’m delighted to have been pardoned , I had been sentenced to five years imprisonment and this release after I had served two years and seven months, is actually a welcome relief for me’, Daniel Ntiretse one of those pardoned said.
Ntiretse, who was convicted of corruption appealed to his compatriots to fight against this vice and other crimes.
‘The two years I have spent in jail have been the worst time in my life and I don’t wish any fellow citizen to face the same experience. I call upon all Rwandans to desist from anything that can lead them to such a place’, he said.
The 35 pardoned inmates hail from Rubavu, Ngororero and Nyabihu districts.