Rights body criticizes president Museveni over threats to resume executions

By Samuel Ssebuliba & Benjamin Jumbe

Amnesty International has said that President Yoweri Museveni’s misguided death penalty vow threatens a decade of progress.

This is according to statement issued by Amnesty International’s Death Penalty Adviser Oluwatosin Popola in response to the president’s threat to “hang” death row prisoners as a crime deterrent after more than a decade without an execution in the country.

While at passing out prison officers at Luzira Prison in Kampala on Thursday, the president said that being lenient is causing people to think they can cause harm and “get away with it”.

However, Popola says that threats to resume executions to ‘prevent crime’ are misguided since there is no credible evidence that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime.

“Rather, it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and a violation of the right to life”, he says in a press statement.

Popola adds that Uganda’s refusal to carry out executions in recent years has been a credit to President Museveni, but resuming them now would destroy more than a decade of progress, not to mention buck the global trend towards abolition.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty at all times – regardless of who is accused, the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution.

Meanwhile, local human rights bodies too have hit back at president Museveni for threatening to resume execution of death row prisoners to ‘prevent crime’.

According to Mr.Muhammad Ndifuna the executive director Human Rights Network Uganda, if execution of death row penalty prisoners is to be resumed, total transparency must be exhibited right from arrest throughout all judicial processes.

He says many self-confessed criminals are walking have not been prosecuted so executing those in prisons is total injustice.