Prisons partial amnesty confirmed - Prisoners give enthusiastic welcome to minister

Updated at 7.45 p.m.

Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia confirmed to prisoners this evening that the government would be granting them an amnesty to mark the general election.

He did not give specific details, saying they would be announced tomorrow.

Dr Mallia, a former criminal defence lawyer, was given an enthusiastic welcome by some 500 prisoners gathered in the prison yard. Many shouted 'Taghna lkoll' as they applauded.

He urged them to work towards reforming themselves.

At one time the minister needed to be surrounded by prison warders as the prisoners pressed around him to greet him.

Earlier today it was revealed that paedophiles would not benefit from the amnesty, which is expected to be of up to three months.

A number of non-governmental organisations were helping the government to come up with the right formula.

A ministry spokesman told the amnesty will be based on prisoners’ behaviour and will not be given to paedophiles and prisoners who have been imprisoned for life, among others.

“One thing is definite. If we give prisoners an amnesty, paedophiles will not get 10 minutes of it,” the spokesman said.

The last time that an amnesty was given to prisoners was when Pope John Paul II visited Malta in May 2001.


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