Uganda Prisons Service has received the final list of 833 inmates pardoned by President Museveni countrywide.
A list of over 1000 names was submitted by the prisons authorities to government for pardon as one of the ways to decongest prisons so as to fight the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Commissioner General of Uganda Prisons Service, Dr Johnson Byabashaija, said the prisoners were those who have completed three quarters of their sentences, breast-feeding inmates and prisoners aged 60 or above.
“We are also working on decongesting our prisons and right now, the list of about 1,500 to 2,000 prisons who are not serving capital offences are going to be sent to the AG for consideration of pardon. I hope this will partly decongest our prisons,” Byabashaija said early this year at parliament.
However, 833 of these were pardoned by the president and the list was released by prisons.
“In the exercise of the powers vested in the president under article 121(1)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and on the advice of the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, I hereby grant pardon to the following nationals and non-nationals on humanitarian public health grounds,” President Museveni said.
Among those released are inmates who have completed three quarters of their sentences, terminally sick, breastfeeding inmates and those above 60 years of age among others.
The list also includes a number of Rwandan nationals who had been detained in Ugandan prisons who have also been pardoned by the president.
Uganda has since last year released a number of Rwandan nationals arrested and detained over several offences as one of the ways to ease tensions between the Kampala and Kigali establishments that have been at their worst for the past three years.
The cold relationship between the two neighbouring countries also saw Rwanda close their border with Uganda protesting the arrest of detention of their citizens.
Whereas Rwanda accuses Uganda of supporting subversive forces against their government, the Kampala establishment denies the claims but in return accuses Kigali of infiltrating Uganda’s security forces.
Efforts to normalize relations have for over two years been ongoing but have not yet yielded so much result.
Additional reporting by Mildred Tuhaise