UGANDA: DEATH ROW INMATES PLEAD FOR A CHANCE TO LIVE
November 22, 2013: High Court in Kampala, Uganda, has opened a four-day session to re-sentence 167 death row inmates at Luzira upper prison following mitigation of their previous sentences.
The dates November 22-29 were set by four different divisions of the Kampala High Court after the convicts who included a serial killer, Richard Arinatiwe convicted of murder, applied to court for mitigation of their sentence.
The convicts were sentenced to death by hanging about 10 year ago for the different offences. The offences included murder, robbery, aggravated robbery, malicious damage and arson.
The sitting courts included the International war crimes division presided over by Justice Moses Mukiibi, Kampla High court presided over by Justices Lameck Mukasa, Rugadya Atwoki, Margaret Tibulya, Elizabeth Kabanda and justice Joseph Murangira.
Other courts included the Anti-corruption court presided over by Justice Paul Mugamba and Justice Lawrence Gidudu, and the commercial court presided over by David Wangutusi and Justice Jane Kigundu.
Since Monday this week (November 18), the convicts have been separately appearing before the judges for mitigation. During the hearing of their mitigation, the convicts asked the judges to give them a chance to live. Each of them, separately through their lawyers, promised never to commit any offences, if given a second chance to live.
The convicts further said since their conviction and previous sentence, they had learnt to value human life and respect of other peopleâs property. They also claimed that they had reformed following regular religious studies and formal education they acquired over the years in prison.
âEvery convict has a right to life and therefore, we pray that court gives appropriate terms of sentence contrary to the mandatory death penalty that was given to them after their conviction,â said one of the convictsâ lawyers, Moses Kiyemba before Justice Rugadya Atwoki of the High court.
In the commercial court, Sylvia Wakabala, another advocate of some of the convicts also contended that the convicts had suffered death row syndrome.
âAll these years, the convicts have had to leave in fear, suspense, anxiety and mystery of what might happen to them the following day,â she said. (Sources: newvision.co.ug, 22/11/2013)