Zimbabwe's prisons are notorious hell holes: filthy, overcrowded, short of food, with inmates suffering from communicable diseases and sometimes forced to share cells with dead bodies.
So it is odd, to say the least, that one common thief said he would rather spend life in prison than return to the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe's capital.
Lovemore Manyika, 22, "stunned the court" Monday when he begged for life imprisonment, the state-run Herald newspaper reported.
Manyika, described as "an unrepentant thief" who was released from prison in April, was back in the dock after breaking into two Harare homes and stealing cell phones, a plasma TV and $1,800 in cash.
During his sentencing, he passed a note to the prosecutor, who read it aloud to the court:
“Life in prison is better than life in the streets."
Magistrate Jessica Kufa asked Manyika if he really meant it, and he reportedly confirmed he wanted life in prison.
A disappointed Manyika was only sentenced to three years in jail.
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