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Chinese ambassador defends execution of Ugandans

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By Benjamin Jumbe

Posted  Friday, August 8  2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Envoy says those who commit crimes must be punished.

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Kampala.
The Chinese ambassador has defended his government’s execution of two Ugandans for drug trafficking, saying laws of any sovereign country must be respected by everybody.

Responding to questions raised by journalists yesterday over the execution of the two Ugandans recently, Mr Zhao Yali said drug trafficking is a crime according to international law, Chinese and Ugandan laws.

He said China’s narcotics laws are more strict compared to Uganda’s.
“When you commit a crime you have to pay, that is the rule of law,” Mr Yali added.
“These two people unfortunately, one carried 16 kilos (of drugs) and the other one more than 20 kilos. So I would like to tell the people in Uganda, especially the young people, I know they were used, but when you commit a crime you have to pay your price, that is the rule of law, ” Mr Yali said.

The two Ugandans executed are Omar Ddamulira and Andrew Ham Ngobi
Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs minister, Mr Sam Kutesa has said the Ugandan government is engaged in discussions with the Chinese embassy and government on mechanisms of handling Ugandans arrested tried and convicted.

He, however, said those found guilty of drug trafficking should not expect the government to rescue them from sentences they are given.

Ms Grace Akullo, the director of Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate, recently said drug traffickers use Uganda because the punishments are lenient once arrested. She said of all the 52 cases they registered last year, 49 traffickers pleaded guilty and they paid total fines of Shs35m before marching to freedom.

“Shs35 million fine doesn’t match the drugs worth Shs109 billion they were carrying. If our laws were like those of Kenya where they are fined thrice the cost of contraband, they would feel the pinch,” Ms Akullo said.

bjumbe@ug.nationmedia.com