Sharma Kooky, a businessman of Indian origin who was in 2000 convicted and sentenced to death for the brutal murder of his wife, has been released on a presidential pardon. Kooky together with his brother Lavinder Kumar, were in September 2000 sentenced to death for the December 23rd 1997 murder of Renu Joshi. The crime was committed at Plot 43/45 Martin Road in Old Kampala where the couple was staying.
Sharma Kooky, a businessman of Indian origin who was in 2000 convicted for the brutal murder of his wife, has been released on a presidential pardon.
On September 19th 2000, Kooky together with his brother Lavinder Kumar were sentenced to death for the December 23rd 1997 murder of Renu Joshi. The crime was committed at Plot 43/45 Martin Road in Old Kampala where the couple was staying.
The sentences were upheld by the higher courts with the supreme concurring with the decision of the lower courts on April 15th 2002.
But in a letter dated 22 March 2012 to Luzira prison authorities, President Yoweri Museveni grants pardons Kooky, quoting Article 121 (4) of the Uganda constitution. The article gives the president powers to grant any person convicted of an offence a pardon either free or subject to lawful conditions.
The article further says that the president may also grant to a person a respite, either indefinite or for a specified period from the execution of punishment imposed on him or her for any offence.
Releasing Kooky from Luzira Maxim Prison on Monday afternoon, Frank Baine, the prison’s spokesperson he had been sentenced to death, but this was overturned by the 2005 ruling on the Susan Kigula case challenging the delays of executing people on the death row.
Sharma Kooky, dressed in a white Indian garb, left the Luzira Maximum prison gates at 3:00pm with three sacks of books.
He declined to speak to the press but his brother Komar Sharma thanked President Yoweri Museveni for pardoning him.
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In her petition, Susan Kigula argued that it would be unconstitutional to carry out the death sentences on the condemned prisoners who have been on death row for three years and above after their sentences had been confirmed by the highest appellate court, as this would be inconsistent with Articles 24 and 44(a) of the Constitution.
Article 24 states that no person shall be subjected to any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Article 44(a), on the other hand states that notwithstanding anything in this constitution, there shall be no derogation from the enjoyment of freedom of rights and the freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
On June 10th 2005, the Constitutional Court concurred that to hold a person beyond three years after the confirmation of sentence is unreasonable.
Benjamin Odoki, the chief Justice and Justice Egonda Ntende agreed that as soon as the highest court has confirmed the sentence, the Advisory committee on the Prerogative of Mercy and the Prisons authorities should commence to process the applications of condemned persons so that the President is advised without unreasonable delay.
In that way, a person sentenced to death would spend considerably less time on death row without knowing conclusively his fate. The appeal process itself will in all probability have taken several years.
shamar kooky released