President grants amnesty to 887 jailbirds on Republic Day

Kathmandu, May 28

On the occasion of the ninth Republic Day, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari granted amnesty to as many as 887 jailbirds doing time in various prisons across the country.

A press release issued by the Office of the President stated that eligible jailbirds were granted amnesty under Article 276 of the Constitution of Nepal, on the recommendation of the Cabinet.

The government has a tradition of giving amnesty to eligible prisoners to mark major festivals like Dashain, Tihar and Republic Day.

The government may recommend the President to waive off the remaining jail term of the prisoners, who have been convicted of small-time crimes and have already served at least 40 per cent of the jail term, if they have demonstrated good conduct in prison.

Similarly, 75 per cent of the remaining term of jailbirds who are above 65 years of age and have demonstrated good conduct may be commuted.

However, those convicted of 14 types of heinous crimes, including kidnapping and hostage-taking, rape, molestation, human trafficking, murder, corruption and smuggling of drugs and body parts of wild animals are not deemed eligible for pardon as per Rule 29 of the Prison Rules, 1963.

Earlier, the Department of Prison Management had forwarded a list of convicts deemed eligible for amnesty to the Ministry of Home Affairs on the recommendation of concerned jailers. Upon receiving the list, the ministry had forwarded it to the Cabinet before seeking presidential approval.

The amnesty policy aims to reduce pressure in overcrowded prisons and gives an opportunity to small-time offenders to correct themselves and avoid involvement in criminal activities in future.

The country has 74 prisons in 72 of 75 districts. Bhaktapur, Bara and Dhanusha do not have any prison, while Kathmandu and Dang have two prisons each.

The prisons with a total capacity of 11,500 persons were crammed with more than 17,905 jailbirds as of mid-April.