In Zambia President gives death row inmates life sentences

Crimes that could be punishable by death include murder, treason and robbery with a deadly weapon, although Zambia has not executed any prisoners since 1997.

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The new Zambian head of state President Edgar Lungu attends the opening ceremony of the 24th Ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri play The new Zambian head of state President Edgar Lungu attends the opening ceremony of the 24th Ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri (Reuters)
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Zambia's President Edgar Lungu on Thursday reduced the sentence of 332 prisoners awaiting death by hanging to life imprisonment to ease maximum security prison congestion.

Crimes that could be punishable by death include murder, treason and robbery with a deadly weapon, although Zambia has not executed any prisoners since 1997.

During a visit to Mukobeko Maximum Security prison, about 180 km north of Lusaka, Lungu said it was unacceptable for a prison with a capacity of 51 inmates to house hundreds.

"It goes without saying that this is an affront to basic human dignity apart from the health and sanitation challenges that it has created," Lungu said.

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