President Thein Sein pardoned 6,966 people in July 2015 to free prisoners of conscience and others who had been purged by the country’s military regime.
Marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, President Park Geun-hye pardoned 6,527 people in August 2015, including a handful of high-profile business tycoons, to boost the economy and buoy national spirits.
The Council of State (led by President Raúl Castro) pardoned 3,522 prisoners before Pope Francis’ visit last September, indicating improved relations with the Catholic Church.
President Robert Mugabe pardoned roughly 2,000 people–including all juvenile and most female prisoners–reportedly because the country couldn’t feed the growing number of inmates.
This appears in the June 13, 2016 issue of TIME.
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