THE Human Rights Commission (HRC) has welcomed the pardoning of the Kapiri gay couple saying everyone has the right to be pardoned regardless of their sexual orientation.
In an interview, HRC spokesperson Mwelwa Muleya said that the fact they were pardoned shows that there is no element of discrimination in the manner in which the prerogative of mercy is applied.
“Those who were convicted of that suspected crime relating to their sexual orientation are entitled to presidential pardon just like any other inmate or convicted person. So it’s something within the discretion of the Head of State to pardon anybody facing any crime or to reduce the sentence or to pardon that person as per constitutional provision. Therefore, that shows that there is no element of discrimination in his application of that prerogative of mercy powers as bestowed on him by Article 97 of the Constitution of Zambia. So there is no form of discrimination, it applies to any inmate as far as the various wings of government evaluate the cases and make recommendations to the head of state to consider pardoning any person who is convicted of a crime,” said Muleya.
“So it means that the various wings of government, the security wings, those involved in the criminal justice system, they evaluated the case and conduct of those convicted persons and they had satisfied that hose cases were duly defeating of the pardon and as human rights commission, we commend the move just like we have commended the move by the president to pardon the 2,984 inmates in celebration of the Africa Freedom day. That was a commendable gesture of compassion. It’s always pleasing to the human rights Commission when ones rights are being restored, in this case, the right to liberty of the gay couple has been restored having gone through the criminal justice system but they have been pardoned, I think that is a welcome move.”