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MPs divided over inmates' conjugal rights

By Moses Walubiri

Added 14th December 2016 01:59 PM

Byabasaija, however, stopped short of saying that under the current circumstances, provision of conjugal rights in prisons is farfetched.

MPs divided over inmates' conjugal rights

Byabasaija, however, stopped short of saying that under the current circumstances, provision of conjugal rights in prisons is farfetched.

Dr. Johnson Byabashaija(L) the Commissioner General of Uganda Prisons flanked by Elizabeth Nanfuka a Prisons Commissioner while appearing before the Parliamentary committee on Human rights. Photo by Roderick Ahimbazwe

To legalese or not inmates' conjugal rights was at the center of a heated debate between lawmakers sitting on the human rights committee of parliament earlier today.

In an interface with the top brass of Uganda Prison Services (UPS) led by Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr. Johnson Byabasaija, a section of MPs led by Gilbert Oulanyah and Semeo Nsubuga sparred with Kenneth Lubogo and committee chairperson; Jovah Kamateka after the former mooted the idea of Uganda joining a select club of countries that respect inmates' conjugal rights.

UPS's top echelon was at parliament to answer queries raised in the 17th and 18th annual human rights report of Uganda Human Rights Commission.

"To be convicted and imprisoned for 10 years is punishment enough. It does not mean that an inmate ceases to have other rights. Prison should not be a vehicle to break people's homes," Nsubuga, a former cop, said.

However, although Kamateka, seeking to temper the heated debate said the matter would be discussed internally by the committee, Lubogo described it as a nonstarter.

"We have congested prisons, children in prison with their mothers and some prisons with no proper waterborne toilets. We should be seeking to solve these problems instead of providing for conjugal rights," Lubogo said.

Byabasaija, however, stopped short of saying that under the current circumstances, provision of conjugal rights in prisons is farfetched.

To Byabasaija, suggestions that inmate's in Ugandan prisons should be allowed their conjugal rights would stretch prisions' meager budget.

Spain, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Australia (Queensland), Denmark, Canada and Germany allow conjugal visit where inmates spend several hours or days with their legal spouses during which  parties can have sex.

 

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