Iganga, (UG): The High Court sitting in Iganga District has sentenced one Hassan Kafudde (in his 40s) to 52 years of imprisonment for being involved in a ritual practice to sacrifice a child in order to acquire quick wealth.
Presided over by Justice David Batema on Tuesday afternoon, court heard that on June 6, 2017, the accused at Musita village, Baitambogwe sub-county in Mayuge district chopped off the head of Muyita Juma, 5 years in a ritual sacrifice.
The deceased was reportedly residing at Kawempe and schooling at Mirembe Junior School when the incident occurred.
Kafudde is charged with two others including the child’s father Muyita Issa and Kabaale Mubaraka. However, Muyita Issa (the father) early during the trials pleaded guilty and also offered to testify against the co-accused.
Muyita entered a plea bargain and was sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment leaving Kafudde and Kabaale in court.
During plea bargaining, Muyita (the father of the deceased child) confessed to the court that he walked with Kabaale from Musita trading centre to the sugarcane plantation and presented his son to him and Kafudde slaughtered him, chopped off his head and genitals using a big long knife.
He afterwards scooped the blood in a white kaveera before digging a shallow grave using the knife where they buried the headless trunk of the sacrificed body.
The court was satisfied beyond any doubt that Kafudde Hassan was clearly seen and identified by the prosecution witnesses and Kabaale Mubaraka during previous trials told court he was forced to go into hiding after hearing that he was being associated with Muyita Issa in child sacrifice.
In his judgement, Justice David Batema sentenced Hassan Kafudde to 52 years at Jinja main prison Kirinya while Kabaale Mubaraka was sentenced to 3 years in prison on grounds that he knew about the matter of child sacrifice but failed to report the matter to police.
However, on the ground that the duo spent 6 years and one month on remand, Kafudde remained to serve a sentence of 45 years and 11 months while Kabaale was released unconditionally and proceeded home.
Speaking to DailyExpress soon after the court session, the senior state attorney and public relations officer in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Ms Jackline Okwi said the effect of the judgement is that ritual sacrifice of human beings doesn’t guarantee riches and wealth.
She said whoever is involved in such will be lawfully handled and that the office of DPP is determined to relentlessly prosecute those involved in the vice to deter others from doing the same.
“… ritual sacrifice of human beings doesn’t guarantee riches and wealth and those who involve themselves in such practices shall end up in the criminal justice system. They shall be arrested, prosecuted, convicted and seriously punished for committing related offences and the DPP’s office is determined to relentlessly prosecute those who involve themselves in human sacrifice to deter others from doing the same,” Ms Okwi said.
The defense lawyer, Counsel Haumba James said what came out was not what they expected and that he would discuss with his client to see if they are interested in pursuing an appeal.
“First of whole, I’m grateful that this matter has come to an end and much as what you have observed is not what expected, life goes on and I’m going to discuss with my client to see a way forward. If at all they are interested in pursuing an appeal, that’s an option available to them,” counsel Haumba said.
Meanwhile, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries Mukono which fights against child sacrifice and human trafficking who have been following up on the matter with the DPP’s office were grateful for the ruling and urged the would-be offenders to desist from the vice. They help the families of victims to get justice in partnership with the police and the judiciary.
Mr Wasswa Edrine Mugerwa, from the Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, said, “We’re are so happy for the sentence of 52 years and this sends a signal out there that there’s no wealth in sacrificing a child and it should be a lesson to all. We urge the public to report such cases to the police and as an organization, we commit ourselves to continue giving a hand to these vulnerable families to see that they acquire justice for their children.”
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