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Coronavirus: Byabashaija Rules Out Release of Prisoners; Hints On Suspending Visitation  

Ever since COVID-19 or Coronavirus broke out, a number of countries around the world have taken drastic measures which have notably included freeing convicted prisoners to ease crowding.

Among these was Iran, which about a week ago temporarily released over 70,000 Prisoners to stem the rapid infection.

However today, the Commissioner General of Uganda Prisons Service (CGP) Johnson Byabashaija stressed that he does not foresee such a development happening in Uganda.

Speaking to Journalists at Parliament, Byabashaija said whereas he has heard prisoner releases elsewhere, the disadvantages of releasing Prisoners in Uganda outweigh the advantages.

“I am not thinking that direction because you know what would happen if I released those people on the streets. I don’t think you would sleep,” he said.

Byabashaija reassured nonetheless that Prisons around the country are religiously enforcing guidelines that were recently rolled out by Ministry of Health (MOH) which include placing sanitizers at all entrances to detention centres.

The Prisons Management is also set to sit and assess whether visitation days can be temporarily scrapped.

“Tomorrow morning I will sit with my top management and take a decision on visits. Whether we should stop them temporarily to guard our clients,” Byabashaija explained.

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“You know if you have something like that entering a prison then you are in real trouble. We shall not allow that one to happen,” he vowed.

At the time of making these remarks, Byabashaija had just emerged from Parliament’s Appointment Committee which is scrutinizing his new contract that begins on May 5 2020 to May 5 2023.

Byabashaija who hails from Rukungiri district has been CGP since 2005.

The Committee headed by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Monday approved Sulaiman Ausi Lubega and Kisambira Muhammad Tezikuba for the positions of Deputy Head of Uganda’s Mission to Saudi Arabia and Ambassador to Iran respectively.


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