KAMPALA, Uganda (AA) – Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni thrown his weight behind retaining the country’s death penalty.
Speaking while presiding over a Monday passing-out parade of new prison warders in Kampala, Museveni stated: “I hear some people want to abolish the death penalty; I am not part of those.”
Citing Biblical sources, Museveni said: “I believe in punishing those who make very serious mistakes, especially like killing.”
“There is no harm if the killer is hanged when he has repented. I have not hanged many people but that possibility should be left open,” he added.
According to Frank Baine, a Uganda prisons spokesman, there are currently 208 people on death row – 197 men and 11 women – out of 46,000 inmates.
Uganda’s last civilian execution was in 1999; the last military execution took place in 2005.
In 2009, Uganda’s Supreme Court ruled against the death penalty in a case filed by over 417 people on death row led by a convicted murderer called Susan Kigula who was awaiting execution.
The court ruled that all death sentences be converted into life imprisonment after a person serves three years on death row.
However, the government has never implemented the ruling.
During 2011’s first Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights of all 194 UN members, Belgium recommended that Uganda apply the ruling in the Kigula case.
In Dec. 2014, Uganda abstained from voting on a resolution on a moratorium on the death penalty at the UN General Assembly.
In Nov. 2014 an opposition legislator tabled a private members proposing life imprisonment for crimes like murder, rape, aggravated robbery, aggravated defilement and terrorism that currently carry mandatory death penalties.
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