The people of South Sudan express hope during the Pope's visit The people of South Sudan express hope during the Pope's visit  (ANSA)

South Sudan’s President pardons 71 prison inmates

Sudan’s President Salva Kiir pardons 71 inmates who were serving different sentences. The act of clemency comes during Pope Francis’ pilgrimage of peace to the east African nation.

By Linda Bordoni

In a decree read on the state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation, the nation’s President, Salva Kiir Mayardit pardoned 36 inmates on death row and 35 inmates who failed to pay compensations or fines.

He reportedly ordered prison authorities to execute the order accordingly.

No reasons were given by the Head of State for the pardon, but the act of clemency comes following his meeting earlier in the day with Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland Rev Iain Greenshields, at the start of their Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace that takes place from 3 to 5 February.

Appeal for respect for human rights

The Pilgrimage takes place during the second leg of the Pope’s apostolic journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and to South Sudan, from where he is scheduled to depart on Sunday, 5 February.

On Friday, the three religious leaders met with the political rulers in Juba and issued a plea to pursue the path to peace and reconciliation and to work to ensure their people may look to a future in which respect for human rights is upheld by law and the application of law.

Papal request for clemency

In December, in the run-up to Christmas, Pope Francis sent a letter to the world’s heads of state asking them to pardon prisoners.

In his invitation to make a “gesture of clemency” he invited world leaders to grant leniency to “those of our brothers and sisters deprived of their liberty whom they deem fit to benefit from such a measure, so that this time marked by tensions, injustices, and conflicts may be opened to the grace that comes from the Lord.”

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04 February 2023, 12:37