Thursday 22 January 2009

Correction: Mandatory Death Penalty Abolished in Uganda

Yesterday I posted an item based on news reports suggesting that the Ugandan decision was a setback to abolition of the death penalty. But today I received a press release from Parvais Jabbar and Saul Lehrfreund of the Death Penalty Project, who were deeply involved in the case, and it explains that this was in fact a victory. Apologies to all for giving the wrong impression.
Saul and Parvais point out that the decision confirms the Constitutional Court ruling in 2005 holding that the death penalty was unconstitutional in that it imposes a mandatory death sentence for murder and other crimes. The Supreme Court also ruled that those detained on death row for more than three years are entitled to an automatic commutation of the sentence.
The decision represents significant progress, and a victory for those who took the case. Congratulations to Saul and Parvais, and to the Ugandan lawyers with whom they worked. This is one further step towards universal abolition, and further evidence of progressive human rights developments in Africa.

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