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Zimbabwe prison official says death sentences to be reviewed

Zimbabwe prison officials say they are not in a hurry to engage the services of a newly-appointed hangman to execute the 77 inmates on death row and will review their sentences.

Prisons official Huggins Machingauta said Wednesday that authorities wanted to give prisoners facing execution a "chance to live."

He said all death sentences will be brought before the cabinet of ministers for a review to commute them to life.

The hangman's post was vacant for about seven years since the previous one retired in 2005. State media reported earlier this month that prison officials said they found a new hangman.

A new proposed draft constitution endorsed by the country's two main political parties exempts women, men under 21 and those over 70 from the death penalty.

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