PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has pardoned 3,967 prisoners to commemorate 50 years of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
Home Affairs Minister Mathias Chikawe said in a statement issued in Dar es Salaam that the president has granted such pardon by using his authority as provided under article 45(1) (d) of the constitution.
Those who will benefit from the presidential clemency have been categorised in five groups, where the first group is that 1/6th of every prisoners' sentence has been reduced, which is more than the normal trim-down provided by the Prisons Ordinance.
Prisoners who are suffering from diseases like HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and cancer, and are in their terminal stages will also be pardoned provided that they have been thoroughly checked by a panel of doctors headed by the regional or district medical officer.
All the old prisoners aged 70 and above, whose ages have been confirmed by a panel of doctors led by the regional or district medical officer, will also be pardoned.
Also according to the statement, women prisoners who were convicted while pregnant or were imprisoned with babies, breastfeeding or not, will also be released.
Prisoners with physical and mental disabilities will also benefit from the presidential pardon, provided that the disability is confirmed by a panel of doctors, led by the regional or district medical officer.
The amnesty excludes those who have been sentenced to life and those who are on the death list.
Prisoners convicted of drug trafficking, human trafficking, receiving or giving bribe, robbery with violence or armed robbery, possession of fire arms or ammunitions, raping or giving primary and secondary school girls pregnancy and did that while they were 18 years old and above, will not be included in the pardon.
Prisoners who are serving their sentences under the law of parole act number 25 of 1994 and those doing social service under act number 6/2002, poachers and those charged with embezzlement of public funds will not be pardoned.
"It is the hope of the government that all prisoners to be released will return to society and join their fellow citizens in building the nation where they will be expected to stay away from crime so that they are not returned to prison," Mr Chikawe stressed.