UGANDA MOVES TO END CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
January 20, 2009: Uganda's Supreme Court ruled that death sentences be commuted to life imprisonment after three years in jail, in a move rights groups hailed as a major step towards ending capital punishment.
In its judgment, the court upheld the death penalty as constitutional but ruled that "a delay beyond three years after a death sentence is an inordinate delay".
The case was brought against Uganda's attorney general by a prominent Kampala human rights organisation on behalf of 417 death row inmates.
"This is a very important development because many of the people who are on death row have actually been there for more than three years," said Livingstone Sewanyana, executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative.
Sewanyana said about 330 of his clients were affected by the ruling.
The supreme court justices also urged the legislature to "re-open the debate on the desirability of the death penalty in our constitution". (Sources: AFP, 21/01/2009)