President Salva Kiir Mayardit of the Republic of South Sudan pardoned at least 71 inmates in the evening of Friday after receiving his Holiness Pope Francis in the state house.
Among the pardoned, 36 are on death row, including four women for different crimes, and 35 are convicted of minor crimes.
In a presidential decree read on the national broadcaster South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) on Friday evening, the president ordered an immediate release of the pardoned prisoners.
His Holiness Pope Francis, Dr. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland are in South Sudan on a peace pilgrimage that focuses on national forgiveness and reconciliation to achieve everlasting peace in the country.
In responding to the call for forgiveness from the pilgrims and the world, President Kiir exercised a power of attorney enshrined in section 285 of South Sudan’s criminal procedure, giving the president the legal power and authority to pardon.