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Uganda: President’s misguided death penalty vow threatens a decade of progress

    January 19, 2018

    Responding to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s threat to “hang” death row prisoners as a crime deterrent after more than a decade without an execution in the country, Amnesty International’s Death Penalty Adviser Oluwatosin Popola said:

    “President Museveni’s threat to resume executions to ‘prevent crime’ is misguided since there is no credible evidence that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime. Rather, it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and a violation of the right to life.

    "While the backlog of criminal cases in Uganda is something that needs to be addressed and expedited, resorting to the death penalty as some kind of 'quick-fix' is not the answer.

    “Uganda’s refusal to carry out executions in recent years has been a credit to President Museveni, but resuming them now would destroy more than a decade of progress, not to mention buck the global trend towards abolition.

    “Rather than talking of hanging criminals, the President must instead lead Uganda to fully abolishing the death penalty, just as 19 other African countries have done.”


    President Museveni tweeted that “being lenient is causing people to think they can cause harm and get away with it”.

    He was also quoted as saying, “Criminals think they have a right to kill people and keep their heads… I think I am going to revise [my position] a bit and hang a few… If you see how they kill people, they deserve to be killed."

    Amnesty International opposes the death penalty at all times - regardless of who is accused, the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution.


    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 or