Peru to release 3,000 prisoners under virus amnesty

Lima (AFP) –


Peru will release under amnesty about 3,000 prisoners including those who are particularly at risk from the coronavirus pandemic, the justice minister has said.

The disease has killed at least seven inmates, and infected more than 40 in Peru's overcrowded prisons along with 26 wardens.

"We are going to amnesty approximately 3,000 detainees who fall into the groups vulnerable to the coronavirus," Minister Fernando Castaneda said Wednesday on the ATV channel.

He said the government would issue a decree on Thursday formalizing the measure.

Among the prisoners who will benefit from the decision are pregnant women, inmates with children under the age of three, those serving sentences of less than four years, and those over the age of 70 who have not committed serious crimes.

The amnesty also includes those with just six months left to serve and those who have conditions that increase their risk from the coronavirus.

Last Friday, two prisoners died in a riot at a jail in northern Peru triggered by fear of the virus after the death of another inmate due to the disease.

As of Wednesday, Peru had 19,250 coronavirus infections and 530 deaths.