Top Judge Questions The Death Penalty

The Deputy Chief Justice has questioned the usefulness the death penalty after attending the graduation ceremony of a former Death Row inmate inside prison.

Justice Owiny Dollo attended the party for Susan Kigula at Luzira Maximum security prison in Kampala this week and came out wondering if having the death penalty is after all something to be proud of.

Dollo told the BBC:”When you attend such a function even as a judicial officer you begin questioning whether we need a death penalty in this country. You question because a person who is on the wrong side of the law today could be a person of great influence tomorrow.”

Justice Owiny Dollo with Susan Kigula at her graduation party this week

Susan Kigula was convicted of murder when she was 21 years old and sentenced to death. While serving her sentence and awaiting execution, she studied for a law degree and graduated this week.

It was while on death row that she was convinced to study law. She told the BBC: “We had no classes – I was studying under a tree. I weathered the sun, I weathered the rain. Some of my fellow inmates and some of the staff did not understand why a death row inmate would study law but it was because of the determination, the commitment, the perseverance and hardwork that I put in because I had set a goal to change my life for better.”

Kigula successfully challenged her sentence in a landmark ruling and now wants the death penalty to be abolished: She said: “I want people to know that we do not need a death sentence in our country. Had I been executed I would not be here sharing my story with you”.

Kigula was convicted of the murder of her husband on July 9, 2000. A vital piece of testimony came from her stepson, three years old at the time of the murder; he said he had witnessed Kigula, together with her house maid, Nansamba Patience, cutting his father’s throat with a brand new panga, she had brought home the previous evening and hid under the bed.
In September 2002, Susan was sentenced to death and went to Luzira to await her fate. But Susan refused to sit back and wait for her execution. She fought back and led a petition in the Supreme Court.
The case; “Susan Kigula and 417 Others vs Attorney General” featured petitioners all on death row in an attempt to have capital punishment declared unconstitutional and abolished. Abolition of the death penalty failed. But they won partial victory.
The first victory: The Judges ruled that the death sentence should not be mandatory. And two: they ruled that the condemned person should not be kept on death row indefinitely, therefore, if a convict is not executed within three years, the sentence is automatically turned into life imprisonment.
Kigula has been out of prison since 2016.

 

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Top Judge Questions The Death Penalty

The Deputy Chief Justice has questioned the usefulness the death penalty after attending the graduation ceremony of a former Death Row inmate inside prison.

Justice Owiny Dollo attended the party for Susan Kigula at Luzira Maximum security prison in Kampala this week and came out wondering if having the death penalty is after all something to be proud of.

Dollo told the BBC:”When you attend such a function even as a judicial officer you begin questioning whether we need a death penalty in this country. You question because a person who is on the wrong side of the law today could be a person of great influence tomorrow.”

Justice Owiny Dollo with Susan Kigula at her graduation party this week

Susan Kigula was convicted of murder when she was 21 years old and sentenced to death. While serving her sentence and awaiting execution, she studied for a law degree and graduated this week.

It was while on death row that she was convinced to study law. She told the BBC: “We had no classes – I was studying under a tree. I weathered the sun, I weathered the rain. Some of my fellow inmates and some of the staff did not understand why a death row inmate would study law but it was because of the determination, the commitment, the perseverance and hardwork that I put in because I had set a goal to change my life for better.”

Kigula successfully challenged her sentence in a landmark ruling and now wants the death penalty to be abolished: She said: “I want people to know that we do not need a death sentence in our country. Had I been executed I would not be here sharing my story with you”.

Kigula was convicted of the murder of her husband on July 9, 2000. A vital piece of testimony came from her stepson, three years old at the time of the murder; he said he had witnessed Kigula, together with her house maid, Nansamba Patience, cutting his father’s throat with a brand new panga, she had brought home the previous evening and hid under the bed.
In September 2002, Susan was sentenced to death and went to Luzira to await her fate. But Susan refused to sit back and wait for her execution. She fought back and led a petition in the Supreme Court.
The case; “Susan Kigula and 417 Others vs Attorney General” featured petitioners all on death row in an attempt to have capital punishment declared unconstitutional and abolished. Abolition of the death penalty failed. But they won partial victory.
The first victory: The Judges ruled that the death sentence should not be mandatory. And two: they ruled that the condemned person should not be kept on death row indefinitely, therefore, if a convict is not executed within three years, the sentence is automatically turned into life imprisonment.
Kigula has been out of prison since 2016.

 

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