JUBA — Authorities in South Sudan has released 143 prisoners in an effort to combat the spread of the new coronavirus disease in crowded jails.
Martin Maciec Kuc, the secretary general of the defunct Western Lakes State, told Radio Tamazuj on that the decision was taken to reduce the overcrowding in Rumbek prison.
“We have released 143 prisoners from Rumbek main prison, particularly those with minor crimes. They will be released for 30 days. As a matter of fact, the prison is too congested,” Kuc said.
He pointed out that the released inmates would have an opportunity to resolve issues that saw them arrested and detained.
“If you are required to pay one cow, go and pay it and if you were required to pay a fine, then go and bring money for the government. If you complete 30 days minus paying fines or resolving reasons of your imprisonment, we will re-arrest you,” Kuc explained.
For his part, Malok Maduldit, the prison director, also stressed that those released from prison were only inmates with minor crimes.
He said the remaining inmates are facing murder and rape charges.
Major Gen. Yoasa Lujang Kamba, the police commissioner for the defunct Yei River State, said efforts are underway to decongest prisons and move inmates to spacious wards.
“We will not release these people because some of them committed murder, but we will keep them in safe places by ensuring that if 50 of them are sleeping in a single ward, they are reduced to 20,” he told Radio Tamazuj.
South Sudan has reported four cases of COVID-19 so far.