The head of public diplomacy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Margret Kafeero, has quashed a list of 23 Ugandan prisoners said to be on death row over drug trafficking offences circulating on social media , terming it as ‘ unsubstantiated information and misleading’.
Mrs. Kafeero (pictured up) shared a statement released on Monday clarified that the list of 23 is actually of those who were previously sentenced to death, but were granted a reprieve and later reduced to life imprisonment.
Apparently, 100 Ugandans on death-row in China.
“That list in circulation is one of Ugandans who were sentenced to death a number of years ago but were granted a 2-year reprieve by the Chinese Courts, which was later reduced from death, to life imprisonment and further to a fixed term,” the statement said.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Kampala was appealing to China and other nations to have convicted Ugandans sent home to serve jail terms in Ugandan prisons. TheUgandan understands that most of those arrested were job seekers who were recruited by drug traffickers to smuggle drugs into China.
“We are not at liberty to discuss individual’s circumstances either in the media or in public domain but would like to emphasize that it is our understanding that the Chinese Government has not scheduled executions of any Ugandan prisoners at this time. The two governments continue to carry out bilateral discussion on various pending cases.”
China, Uganda’s second biggest trading partner, regularly executes drug smugglers, though it does not make available statistics, adding to the problem of undocumented travel that makes it difficult to accurately map the magnitude of the problem for Uganda.
In 2014, two Ugandans, Omar Ddamulira and Ham Andrew Ngobi were executed over drug trafficking. Chinese authorities let them talk to their families before they were executed.
The lack of Uganda in rescuing its citizens from foreign jurisdictions by legal means essentially is a result of the failure to use such leverage along with burgeoning trade links to its advantage.
Few African countries have even simple bilateral deals, which are perceived as time and resource consuming, or are members of the multilateral agreements that would govern offender exchanges, despite giving the nod to the UN’s Model Agreement on transfers.