European Ambassador urges authorities pardon prisoners

By Deo Wasswa

Uganda Prisons Service commissioner general, Dr Johnson Byabashaija says the prison has so far vaccinated 4176 both staff and inmates who support staff in different offices for COVID-19.

According to him, the institution registered over 1074 cases of COVID-19 but many of them have recovered with only one death.

Byabashaija who was speaking at an event where the European Union and Panel Reform International donated personal protective equipment and sanitary materials worth one billion Uganda shillings to Uganda Prison Services to maintain the fight against corona virus, noted that the number of prisoners in Uganda has risen from 59,000 to 65,000 in five months, leading to congestion.

He also denied accusations by International Human Rights organizations’ recent reports released saying that Uganda prison service is abusing the rights of inmates by hiding them from being accessed by their relatives.

Byabasaija noted that the prison cannot do such dubious things, “what we did is to transfer some of inmates to Kitalya prison as a way of decongesting Luzira prison during the time when corona virus was at its peak’’.

In his remarks, the European ambassador in Uganda H.E Atilio Pacifici urged Uganda Prison Service to think of decongesting prisons by pardoning those with less than three years to complete their jail term.

He noted that though President Museveni pardoned some inmates at the beginning of lock down, the number was too small.

Pacifici, who urged the heads of prison to put the PPEs to good use, also cautioned Ugandans not to relax the ministry of health’s SOPs against the spread of COVID-19 due to availability of Vaccines.