High Court Reduces Sentences of Eleven Death Row Inmates

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In short
In his ruling, Justice Musene reduced Mulwanya sentence from death to 30 years and handed him ten year after reducing the 20 years he spent on remand.

Justice Wilson Masalu Musene has reduced the sentences of 11 death row convicts. They are Calvin Omasige, James Opia, Patrick Lira, Bosco Wandega, Wabusa Nakutayi, Isah Lukoye, Sulait Mulwanyi, Said Oyat, John bosco Okenyi, John Elamu, Moses Okello.

The nine had been sentenced to death by hanging for murder and aggravated Robberies in Kumi, Mbale Jinja, Gulu and Soroti district. They applied to court through their lawyer, Fredrick Mbazira of the Justice Center for a reduction and revision of their sentences.

In his ruling, Justice considered the rehabilitation course, behavior of the convicts in prison, recommendations from the prison authority, family responsibility and time spent in protective custody. For example, 39-year-old Sulait Mulwanya was convicted to death in 2003 after he was found guilty of murder. Mulwanya was convicted after spending 7 years on remand in Luzira Prison.

In his ruling, Justice Musene reduced Mulwanya sentence from death to 30 years and handed him ten year after reducing the 20 years he spent on remand. "20 years is a long time for someone to be on death row," said Justice Musene while delivering his judgment.

This is line with the 2003 Supreme Court ruling of 2003, which said all death row inmates must be executed within three years, it not their sentences be commuted to life in prison. Justices of the Supreme Court made the ruling on a constitutional petition filed by Susan Kigula and 417 other death row inmates challenging the death penalty. 

The petitioners had spent between 9 and 12 years on death row in addition to spending between two and 8 years on remand. Several former death row inmates have benefited from the ruling. Susan Kigula was among the first beneficiaries. Her sentence was reduced to 7 years and has since been released.

All the beneficiaries have been under representation of Justice Centres Uganda through its Prison Decongestion Programme. The mitigation session has been adjourned to 29th September when other death row inmates will appear.

 

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Dear Jeanne
Dear Jeanne is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Jeanne has been a URN staff member since 2014.

Jeanne started out as a political and crime reporter for NBS television in 2010. She went on to become a news director at the station before leaving in 2012 to join The Daily Monitor as an investigative reporter in 2012.

Jeanne is ambitious to improve her investigative reporting skills. Jeanne’s focus for much of her five year career has been to report on crime and security.