South Sudan to release prisoners on minor offences amid COVID-19

South Sudan to release prisoners on minor offences amid COVID-19./Getty Images

South Sudan on Tuesday said it will release prisoners on minor offenses in a bid to decongest overcrowded detention facilities as a preventive measure against the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Anthony Legge, spokesperson of the National Prison Service (NPS) told Xinhua, that the decision followed a recent directive by Henry Kuany Aguar, director-general for the NPS.

Kuany in his directive disclosed that an estimated 1,400 inmates will be pardoned to ease overcrowding in several prisons across the country.

He noted that only those with minor offenses will be pardoned while those on capital offenses will not be set free.

As precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, South Sudan has also banned social gatherings, public transport, and commercial flights, and shut down businesses dealing in non-essential goods.

Juba has so far reported four positive cases of COVID-19 involving three people working with the United Nations in the country.