Hargeisa, Somaliland – In observance of the beginning of the Islamic New Year (the Hijri New Year), Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi announced a presidential pardon for 388 prisoners in Somaliland prisons on Saturday.
In an official statement released by the Presidency of Somaliland, President Bihi granted amnesty to prisoners convicted of minor crimes, stating, “I have decided to grant a general amnesty from today, on the occasion of the beginning of the Islamic New Year, to 388 prisoners convicted of minor crimes in the country’s prisons.”
The announcement of the presidential pardon has been welcomed by human rights groups and the families of the prisoners, who have been advocating for their release.
The prisoners who will benefit from the amnesty are those who have been convicted of minor offenses, and their release will be a significant relief for them and their families.
The Somaliland authorities clarified that this amnesty would not alter the civil rights and criminal consequences associated with the crimes for which the prisoners were convicted.
The implementation of this amnesty will be carried out by the Office of the Attorney General, as stated in the official statement.
The statement further emphasized that the government remained committed to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that justice is served for all.
The presidential pardon is a customary practice in Somaliland, with the President often granting amnesty to prisoners convicted of minor offenses during significant occasions, such as New Year, holidays, and the commemoration of Somaliland’s unrecognized Independence Day on 18th May. The practice is seen as a way to promote forgiveness and unity within the community and to provide a second chance for those who have made mistakes in the past.
The amnesty comes at a time when the Somaliland government is facing significant challenges in its efforts to improve the country’s justice system and reduce prison overcrowding. Many human rights organizations have raised concerns about the country’s prison conditions, with reports of overcrowding, poor hygiene, and inadequate medical care.
The presidential pardon is a step towards addressing these concerns and providing relief for the prisoners and their families.
The Somaliland authorities reiterated their commitment to improving the country’s justice system and ensuring that all citizens are treated fairly and with respect.