All the Namibian political prisoners were released in 1984. Herman Toivo ya Toivo was the first SWAPO prisoner to be released on the 29 February 1984. He had served 16 years of his 20 year sentence on the Island. He was given remission; an unconditional release and promised that he would not be victimised. Despite the nature of his release, Toiva refused to leave the Prison until his fellow comrades were freed. He eventually left when he was threatened with dogs and forced removal from the prison. A further 15 prisoners were released on the 6th of May 1984. Toivo joined the rest of the SWAPO leadership in exile after his release. He returned to Namibia in 1989 to help pave the way for independence, and to take part in the country’s first truly democratic general election.