A High Court in Kampala, Uganda has sentenced five men to life in prison for their involvement in two bombings that killed 76 people in Uganda in July 2010.
The attacks, carried out by the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab, took place at a popular restaurant in Kampala where large crowds gathered to watch a World Cup match between Spain and the Netherlands.
Terrorists attacked the Ugandan capital as a response to Uganda’s contribution to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, according to Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, the judge who gave the sentences.
“The hundreds of victims of these wanton acts had nothing to do with the decision to deploy the UPDF [Uganda People’s Defence Force] in Somalia. And yet because of these senseless and indiscriminate attacks, they are either dead or permanently living with the scars of these deeds,” he said in his ruling.
The judge added that he did not sentence the accused to death, as he did not believe that it would “give closure to the indelible pain that society has suffered.”
Among the five convicted was Isa Ahmed Luyima, the mastermind of the attacks. Two additional perpetrators were given fifty-year sentences, and another was given a small sentence on an accessory charge. Five others standing trial were acquitted of terrorism and murder charges.
The verdicts handed down by the court reportedly mark the first time al-Shabaab suspects have been convicted outside of Somalia.