Thursday Mar 26 2020

Afghanistan to release nearly 10,000 prisoners to curb coronavirus spread


KABUL: Afghanistan has announced the release of nearly 10,000 prisoners — mostly women, juveniles and sick people — in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus, officials said on Thursday.

The move comes after an increase in local COVID-19 cases and as tens of thousands of Afghans return from neighbouring Iran, one of the countries hit hardest by the pandemic.

President Ashraf Ghani's decree was directed at women, young offenders, critically ill patients and inmates aged over 55, said Attorney General Farid Hamidi.

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"This is a responsible decision to safeguard the health of the people," Hamidi told a news conference.

"The decree is not for those who have committed crimes against national and international security."

Prisons chief Ahmad Rashed Totakhail said between 9,000 and 10,000 inmates would be released over the coming 10 days.