Kasirye is providing for his family from the fruits of his sweat while in detention.

Hamza Kasirye 46, has been in Kirinya Prison in Jinja district for 21 years, but his children have never spent a day without food or lacked school fees. It is not because Kasirye is rich, has wealthy relatives or left assets to provide for his family.

Kasirye is providing for his family from the fruits of his sweat while in detention.

 

How he ended up in jail

Kasirye, who was then a special hire driver in Mukono district ended up in prison after robbers approached him at his work place  and asked  him to take them  to Jinja which he accepted.

While in Jinja, the men got out of the car and asked Kasirye to wait at some point, they later returned with a huge luggage and requested him to put it in the boot and drive to Mukono. On their way back, they were intercepted by police leading to arrest and subsequent prosecution.

“I was forced to leave behind a wife and four children when three men approached me at the special hire stage and asked me to drive them to Jinja.  Little did I know that the men were highway robbers heading for a mission,” Kasirye narrates wistfully.

In 1995, Kasirye then 27 years old, watched crestfallen as the High Court of Kampala read his sentence that sent him to the gallows.

“I was a victim of a miscarriage of justice and because my lawyer was inefficient, I spent 10 years on death row because I could not convince court beyond reasonable doubt that I was not part of the robbery,” says Kasirye.

“I didn’t expect a death sentenced since I never participated in the robbery but I was convicted because I failed to convince court beyond reasonable doubt that I was not part of the robbery but the men had just hired me to take them to Jinja,” Kasirye painfully narrates.

Despite his criminal record, Kasirye is remorseful about his actions for having transported wrong people which led to his incarceration.

But as luck would have it, on June 13, 2005, Kasirye’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment when Susan Kigula and 417 death row inmates petitioned the Constitutional Court against the death penalty.

The Constitutional Court ruled that prisoners, who have been on death row for more than three years should have their sentence commuted to life imprisonment. Having spent 10 years on death row, Kasirye’s sentence was commuted from death to life imprisonment without remission.

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