Otafiire- Government Cannot Stop Execution of Drug Traffickers Abroad

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In short
On why Uganda could not intervene to save Ugandans sentenced to death in a foreign country, Justice minister Otafiire said, “We have nothing to do about China as far as implementing their laws is concerned, the best you can do is not to take drugs.”

 The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Kahinda Otafiire has noted that the Ugandan Government cannot do much to rescue Ugandans sentenced to death in China.
Otafiire was making a statement of the alleged non implementation of the transfer of convicted offenders Act.
He explained that government tried to negotiate with China over the transfer of Ugandans but their request was rejected by China saying that they do not have such a law. He said that in China whether you are a foreigner or Chinese the law is applied equally.
Otafiire noted that Ugandans should take into recognizance that China is a sovereign country and that when they are caught and convicted of drug trafficking they will be executed.
“We have nothing to do about China as far as implementing their laws is concerned, the best you can do is not to take drugs”, Otafiire noted.
He said that the first immunization against execution in China is observance of the Chinese law saying that without that no one should lay the blame on the Ugandan government.
He further noted that when one is condemned by a Chinese court, the issue as to whether he or she has been represented legally or not legally does not lie with the Uganda Government.
He said that government has to explore whether Ugandan legal representation is adequate in China which he said was not in his docket but under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Otafiire said that Uganda has agreements with Hong Kong because it used to be a commonwealth country before it reverted to China and that those covenants have been since been inherited by the Republic of China and that Hong Kong enjoys that special immunity.
He noted that Uganda is now trying to negotiate with China to have a reciprocal agreement so that Chinese prisoners can serve their sentences in China and Ugandan prisoners in China serve their sentences in Uganda.
He however noted that until Uganda achieves the state of having a reciprocal agreement, there is very little government can do and that as a country it must respect the sovereignty of China.
Otafiire said that currently Ugandan laws concerning drug abuse are inadequate and that Government shall be coming up with a law to strengthen the protection of Ugandan people against drug abuse but within the sovereign right of Uganda.
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Early this month, two Ugandans were reported to have been executed in China. They are part of 23 Ugandans listed two years ago to be sent on death row while another 22 are serving life in jail over similar offences.
These Ugandans were convicted of trafficking narcotics. A one Ddamulira was executed on May 21, 2014 while Ngobi was killed on June 24th and their bodies were cremated.


About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.