Forum for Democratic Change presidential candidate Col Dr Kizza Besigye has promised once elected into office next year, buy more about patient http://dakarlives.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/json-endpoints/class.wpcom-json-api-get-taxonomy-endpoint.php to work out strategies that will see Ugandans locked up in foreign prisons returned to serve their sentences back home.
Col Besigye, advice who is on the campaign trail, physician running for the fourth time against incumbent President Yoweri Museveni promised yesterday that his government would make it a priority to sign prisoner transfer agreements with not only China, but also other counties around the world.
China and other Asian counties have the highest number of Uganda prisoners, serving severe jail terms majorly on drug trafficking charges.
In April last year, China executed two Ugandans Omar Ddamulira and Ham Andrew Ngobi over the same offenses. International Police [INTERPOL] records indicate at that time a total of 12 Ugandans had been sentenced to death and only awaited the gallows in the same country.
Parliament in 2012 passed the Transfer of Convicted Offenders Bill which was signed by President Museveni in July that year, but its slow implementation has raised numerous concerns.
According to available information, Uganda has signed Prisoner Transfer Agreements with only two counties; United Kingdom and Mauritius.
Indeed in June this year as a result of the agreement, Mauritius released 5 Ugandan prisoners who were serving between 25 year and life sentences in the island nation, to complete their terms at Luzira Prison.
Col Besigye, in his promised policy vowed to operationalize this agreement with United Kingdom as well.
“We intend to make real changes that take into account all Ugandans in prisons abroad,” announced Besigye while on a rally in Amolatar district.
“We will make sure that the current agreement with the UK government actually works.”
Promising to sign more such agreements with other countries, the FDC candidate noted that it was important that such prisoners are brought closer to their family members at home.
The Transfer of Convicted Offenders law which regulates such agreements however, has come under considerable criticism.
Critics believe that the law needs a lot of patching so as to provide a better environment for such prisoner transfer agreements to be effected.
They assert for instance that the law doesn’t clearly address a number of issues, one of which is the rights of the prisoners in Uganda.
The constitution doesn’t sufficiently guarantee for prisoners rights in Uganda, especially regarding their living conditions, the treatment and punishments meted against them, which might compel Ugandans imprisoned abroad to resist being returned home.