May 19, 2020

Over 3,600 Freed from Jail, Abortion Convicts Pardoned

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Inmates inside Mageragere Prison in Kigali

President Paul Kagame has pardoned another lot of 50 women serving time in prison for abortion – the latest of such actions since last year.

The President informed Cabinet of his decision in their meeting this Monday, which also reviewed the COVID-19 control measures.

According to Justice Minister and Attorney General Johnston Busingye, the women pardoned by Kagame are “all the young women serving time for abortion”.

In the same cabinet session, Kagame pardoned a yet unnamed inmate only identified as “a convict” in the cabinet resolutions.

A separate total of 3,596 inmates were granted “conditional release” from prison, whose specific details will emerge when they walk out of the jail walls in coming days.

The releases seemed also aimed at reducing numbers in the country’s jails to prevent spread of the coronavirus. Last month, 1,182 people were freed from police cells. These had yet to reach the courts.

In a rare unexpected move, cabinet also appointed Ivan Cyomoro Kagame, son of President Paul Kagame, to 9-member board of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). The agency is a key driver of the country’s development agenda.

Cyomoro is the first born of the President’s four children. He holds an MBA.

Cabinet has also endorsed Rwanda’s contribution to the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. It outlines what Rwanda will do and how, to add its weight to the global effort to limit impact of global warming and improve resilience.

Worthy noting is that the United States, the world’s second largest green gas emitter after China, pulled out of the Paris Agreement following the election of President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 measures running since May 4, have only slightly been modified and extended for another 15 days. The night curfew remains in place but from 9pm, not 8pm as has been.

The long awaited Moto (motorcycle) transport, used by tens of thousands daily, and employing more than 90,000 people countrywide, will begin operating on June 1.

The civil union ceremonies held at the sectors, the first step in official marriage process, have been permitted but not more than 15 people in attendance. However, all other ceremonies which usually follow, are not allowed. These host many people and are usually held in bars, which are closed.

Moving from one province to another remains prohibited.

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