Coronavirus: Sri Lanka, Morocco Grant Amnesty to Prisoners

  • Sri Lanka imposed strict security measures on the country in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Moroccan King Mohamed VI pardoned 5,654 prisoners Sunday, as a measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
  • More than 1.2 million people have been infected worldwide, with more than 68,000 deaths.

Sri Lanka has released nearly 3,000 prisoners on bail, per a statement from the office of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. From March 17 to April 4, 2,961 prisoners have so far been released on bail. Sri Lankan prisons are highly congested, with more than 26,000 inmates, even though they are only capable of hosting only 10,000 prisoners.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is a Sri Lankan politician and military officer who was elected President of Sri Lanka on November 16. He served as Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development from 2005 to 2015 under the administration of his brother.

Two prisoners were killed and six others were injured last month in skirmishes with prison guards. Sri Lanka imposed strict security measures on the country in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus. The skirmishes were reportedly in reaction to those measures.

At press time, five people had died in Sri Lanka from the virus. The total number of confirmed cases has since increased to 176. Sri Lankan authorities have imposed very tough measures to halt the spread of the pandemic, which include the closure of airports and ports, and mandatory population confinement. They have been authoritatively managed by the police and the army. The legislative elections scheduled for April 25 were also postponed to a date yet to be determined.

Morocco Pardons More than 5,000 Prisoners as Preventative Measure

Elsewhere, Moroccan King Mohamed VI pardoned 5,654 prisoners Sunday, as a measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus in his country’s overcrowded prisons. A statement issued today by the Moroccan Ministry of Justice specifies that the release will be gradual, and indicates that the beneficiaries were chosen according to the following criteria: old age, health problems, and duration of detention. In addition, good behavior and discipline during their sentence will be taken in to consideration.

Mohammed VI is the King of Morocco. He is a member of the Alaouite dynasty and ascended to the throne on July 23, 1999 upon the death of his father, King Hassan II.

Even though no cases of coronavirus have so far been reported in Moroccan prisons, released prisoners will undergo medical examinations, and will be quarantined in their homes. The release will be carried out in successive stages, taking into account the restrictions on movement imposed in the country after the declaration of the “state of health emergency” on March 19.

Morocco’s measure is similar to that of several countries in the world that have granted collective amnesties to prevent the spread of the virus in closed environments, such as prisons, which are prone to contagion. Moroccan prisons are at the moment home to about 80,000 inmates.

However, the amnesty does not cover the most serious crimes: namely, murder, domestic violence, sex crimes, aggravated robbery, criminal association, corruption, money laundering, arson and drug trafficking. Less-serious trafficking is excepted, however.

After an outbreak in China in December, the COVID-19 virus spread across the world, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a pandemic situation. More than 1.2 million people have been infected worldwide, with more than 68,000 deaths. The United States has the highest number of officially reported cases, with over 328,000. Italy has the highest number of recorded deaths, at over 15,000.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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