The Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) is in the final stages of releasing some 500 prisoners over the high risk to contract novel coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19.

This website was made aware of the development by the Commissioner General of Prisons in Uganda, Dr Johnson Byabashaija.

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“[We] submitted the names to the Attorney General. If the Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy approves, it will proceed to His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for Pardon. Note it’s if.” Dr Byabashaija clarified.

Most prominent on the list for mercy are breastfeeding mothers who have served more than half their sentences, the elderly prisoners of 65 years and above, prisoners that have completed mandatory remand among others.

The committee on the Prerogative of Mercy is headed by the Chief Justice and is charged with the responsibility of processing a report composed of facts of the case and why the inmate should be considered for clemency. Upon receiving the report and the names of inmates seeking pardon, the President may then exercise his right of pardoning any inmate.

In 2009, President Museveni exercised the Prerogative of Mercy to pardon former Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) Security Minister Chris Rwakasisi, who was on death row.

Rwakasisi was convicted on some six counts of kidnap with intention to murder and sentenced to death in 1988.

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