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Nigerian convicts released to unclog prisons

Abuja, Nov 20 (Prensa Latina) More than 4,000 Nigerians convicted of petty crimes are enjoying on Monday an unexpected freedom decided by the Government this weekend for reasons of space rather than for clemency.

The decision was made due to overcrowding in prisons and, therefore, the expenses incurred in the maintenance of inmates, according to a statement from Nigerian Minister of Interior Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo social networks.

We announce the release of 4,068 prisoners detained due to their inability to pay the fines imposed on them, the press release says.

However, the outburst of compassion has its limits since the measure only benefits those offenders whose debts to the State are less than one million nairas (about 1,113 euros), according to the official.

The measure augurs the implementation of new policies in the Nigerian judicial system, including the adoption of measures that do not include internment in penitentiaries, characterized by an overcrowding of 147 percent of their capacity, according to statistics from the United Nations.

To make matters worse, whether for bureaucracy or other reasons, defendants sometimes have to wait years in pre-trial detention before being brought to justice.


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