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Judicial CP - January 2002

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The New Vision, Kampala, 23 January 2002

Corporal Punishment Illegal

Jan 23, 2002 (New Vision/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- CORPORAL punishment is inconsistent with the provisions of the Ugandan Constitution, the Constitutional Court ruled recently.

Hilary Nsambu reports that the Constitutional Court, with a three to two majority verdict, said section 274 of the Penal Code Act, which imposed a sentence of corporal punishment on convicted persons was inconsistent with the provisions of Article 24 of the Constitution which states that, "No person shall be subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

This came after a reference that was directed by the Supreme Court following a request by a Kampala criminal lawyer Paul Zagyenda, on whether it was constitutional for his client Simon Kyamanywa to receive six strokes of the cane when the Constitution protected him.

Kyamanywa had been sentenced to death in 1997 for violent robbery but the Court of Appeal substituted the offence to simple robbery and sentenced him to six months imprisonment with six strokes of the cane.

Zagyenda successfully applied to the Supreme Court for reference on the constitutionalism of the corporal punishment, saying it contravened the Constitution even though it still existed in Law books.

Three Justices, G. Okello, Alice Bahigeine and Amos Twinomujuni agreed that sentence of six strokes of the cane was inconsistent with the Constitution, while Justices S.G. Engwau and Christine Kitumba dissented.

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