97 Zimbabwe prisoners spared death sentence
Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa says he can’t bring himself to sign their death warrants.
HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa says he's sparing nearly 100 prisoners currently on death row because he can't bring himself to sign their death warrants.
The country's new charter abolishes the death penalty for the under 21s and over 70s but the minister says 97 Zimbabweans remain on death row.
What he says according to today's official Herald is that his signature is required before they can be executed and he is not giving it.
Mnangagwa says one of the 97 on death row is a woman. Zimbabwe's new constitution, adopted in March last year, abolishes the death penalty for women, and she will now not be hanged.
Mnangagwa was opening a South African Development Community (SADC) Lawyers' Association conference in Victoria Falls on Friday, following the end of the SADC Heads of State Summit earlier this week.
The death penalty remains a contentious issue in Zimbabwe. The last execution was in June 2003.