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US: DC judge halts execution of Keith Dwayne Nelson | News



A US District Court judge in Washington, DC, has ordered a halt to the federal government’s planned execution on Friday of Keith Dwayne Nelson, saying its lethal injection protocol violates a federal law regulating prescription drugs.

In an opinion released early on Thursday, US District Judge Tanya Chutkan said the law requires the government to get a prescription for the lethal injection drug pentobarbital, which it plans to use to execute Nelson.

It is unlikely any medical professionals would issue the prescription. The government is appealing.

Nelson’s execution was scheduled to be the fifth one this year by the federal government at the death chamber of the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. Nelson has been sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl.

The news comes the day after the only Native American on federal death row was executed against the wishes of the Navajo Nation, which called the sentence an affront to its sovereignty.

Lezmond Mitchell, 38, was put to death via lethal injection on Wednesday evening at the Terre Haute prison, 19 years after he was convicted of killing a young girl and her grandmother, the prison announced.

“Justice finally has been served,” said the US Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, in a statement.

But Mitchell’s lawyers said the federal government had “added another chapter to its long history of injustices against Native American people”.

Auska Mitchell holds a photograph of his nephew, Lezmond Mitchell, before his execution [Jonathan J Cooper/AP Photo]

Most crimes committed in the United States are tried in state courts, some of which are authorised to apply capital punishment.

But federal courts can take up and try the most serious cases, or crimes committed in jurisdictions outside state control, such as – under certain conditions – Native American reservations.

Federal courts rarely deliver capital punishment sentences and carry them out even less frequently. From 1988 until July, only three people on federal death row were executed.

However, under the administration of President Donald Trump, a staunch advocate of the death sentence, executions have stepped up.

Three people were executed in July. They were all convicted for the murder of children, often having committed their crimes in a particularly violent manner.

Tribal sovereignty 

Mitchell was convicted of fatally stabbing a 63-year-old grandmother during a car theft in 2011 and slitting the throat and crushing the skull of her nine-year-old granddaughter. He then buried the heads and hands of the two victims.

Because the killings occurred on Navajo territory in Arizona and the victims and Mitchell were tribe members, US authorities should have obtained the approval of the Navajo Nation for the death penalty, say community officials who point to a 1994 law governing Native American tribal sovereignty.

The Navajo refuse to apply capital punishment to Native Americans, and the victims’ family had asked that Mitchell be sentenced to life imprisonment.

A legal challenge, concerning the sovereignty of tribal justice, failed at the last minute in the US Supreme Court.

Trump, who is standing for re-election on November 3, has advocated expanding the use of the death penalty, in particular for those convicted of killing police officers or children and for drug traffickers.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema



When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.


Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded




The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19




Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  

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