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Angola

Clemency given to prisoners in the wake of the 40 years of the National Independence

foto prisoneiroThe Angolan President grants amnesty to the confined with under 12 years of term at the end of 2015
As the landmark of 40 years of independence drew nearer, the Angolan President ordered to set free the convicts due to serve a term under 12 years if they have served half their term by the 17th of September as well as women behind bars provided that the crime they committed hadn't resulted in anybody's death.
The President's initiative was revealed in a Decree signed on the 15th of September, 2016. It was adopted in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of independence which is a "historical milestone of transcendental importance for all Angolan people".
The document ponders over the achievements Angola has had since 1975 which enabled the country "to enter with dignity into the international context".
The decree doesn't concern all those convicted for sexual harassment, armed robbery and military crimes with a punishment over 12 years.
The 17th of September is a national holiday in Angola, dating back to the day when António Agostinho Neto, the first Angolan President, was born. He was the one to take the office on the 11th of November, 1975, when the Angolan nation proclaimed independence from the Portuguese colonial regime.
The decision was taken "considering the necessity to spur the virtue of mercifulness, peace and fraternity, calling upon the country to live together in clemency" as the Decree has it.
Besides, the document suggested "perpetuating the memory of the heroes deceased in the struggle for liberty of the motherland, by consolidating peace and making a fairer Justice system".
Last February saw the overcrowded prisons throughout the country with 21 500 convicts distributed between 40 penitentiary institutes located in all of the Angolan provinces.
According to the information published at the time by the Penitentiary Services of Angola, the confined fell into two categories: the ones who faced the defined terms of imprisonment, that is, 11 thousand people and 10 thousand arrestees awaiting the investigations to finish and the cases to be passed to the court.
Those who were not included in the Decree were told to have courage and serve the term with a good behavior, hoping that next time mercy would come upon them as well.
The 11th of November last year proved to be a special occasion for the country: Angola celebrated the 40th anniversary of independence, a very important date that makes the nation contemplate over the success the country has achieved in its internal and external activities.
The released prisoners expressed gratitude to Mr. Jose Eduardo dos Santos for his grace and forgiveness, promising to do whatever the country needs them to in the future.