The Minister made the comments yesterday as he interacted with 100 representatives of inmates during his visit at Nyarugenge prison located in Mageragere sector, Nyarugenge district.
His reaction followed the request of Nyirandegeya Mwamini, the chairperson of Juru cell advisory council inside the prison accommodating women. She asked Minister Busingye for advocacy to lessen the penalty for inmates convicted for drug abuse and trafficking.
Nyirandegeya explained that some inmates are desperate considering the long jail term awaiting him/her and the family left behind.
“Honorable Minister, such laws granting punishments for drugs abuse and trafficking crimes are tougher leaves convicts despaired and depressed…I would like to request your kind attention to value us and see how an inmate can be returned to the family because children are left susceptible to many risks over tougher penalties,” she said.
“Accept my apologies to commute and release an inmate having completed five years in prison,” added Nyirandegeya.
Following the request, fellow inmates applauded her.
Minister Busingye told her that drug abuse and trafficking laws are tougher but explained that such crimes cannot be tolerated considering their effects to the community.
“Why should we reduce punishments? You know that we apprehend people with 200 kgs of drugs. It is said that one kg can make under 14 children drug addicts. When someone is apprehended with 100kgs, it means he/she possesses poison for 1000 children,” he said.
The Minister went on to say that death penalty would be ideal for drug traffickers because of ruining many people’s lives.
“Why shouldn’t such person be subjected to death penalty though it was banned. Why letting free someone intending to kill 2000 people? He/she would kill 2000 people hadn’t she been arrested,” he said.
Busingye explained that he is aware of tougher punishments for drug abuse and traffickers noting that the society including friends and relatives would be victims to their effects if there is no enforcement of laws.
“I know such punishments are tough. Don’t you understand the reason why? You should however interact with inmates you represent and tell them that the death penalty would be currently ideal for drug traffickers only had it not been banned in 2007,” he said.
Minister Busingye said such tougher laws are enforced to shun the rest of the society from copying similar crime and protect the country.
Article 263 of the Rwanda’s penal code on “acts related to the use of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances,” says; Any person who, in any way, eats, drinks, injects himself/herself, inhales or one, who anoints oneself with psychotropic substances, commits an offence, and liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year and not more than two years or subject to a penalty of community service.
Any person who, unlawfully produces, transforms, transports, stores, gives to another or who sells narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he or she is liable to a life imprisonment and a fine of between Rwf20 million and not more Rwf30 million in regard to “severe narcotic drugs”; imprisonment for a term of not less than 7 years and not more than 10 years and a fine of up to Rwf10 million in regard to “simple narcotics.”
If acts mentioned above are performed to a child or performed at the international level, the penalty is life imprisonment and a fine of between Rwf30 million and Rwf50 million.