Lusaka: Zambian President Michael Sata has pardoned 975 prisoners as part of 50 years of celebration of the country`s independence from Britain, a senior official said in a statement Friday.
"This is exercising the powers vested in him by Article 59 of the Constitution of Zambia which empowers the Republican President to exercise prerogative of mercy," Xinhua quoted Ngosa Simbyakula, the Minister of Home Affairs, as saying in the statement.
This is the second largest number of prisoners released on presidential amnesty in the southern African nation after over 2, 318 were released in 2012.
Conditions in prisons have always been a source of concern for his administration, the Zambian leader said, adding that the move to pardon prisoners was in line with the governing party`s manifesto of turning the prisons into correctional services.
This also serves as a demonstration of his government`s commitment to finding lasting solutions to the persistent problem of congestion through prison conditions that foster inhumane treatment of prisoners in tandem with international standards he added.
Zambia this year marks 50 years of independence from Britain obtained Oct, 24, 1964.