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Ugandan Cardinal asks forgiveness for ailing tyrant

Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala of Kampala has sparked a lively debate in Uganda with his appeal for clemency for the country's notorious former leader, Idi Amin.

In a speech at the weekend, Wamala said that Christians should forgive Amin, who is now living in exile in Saudi Arabia, and gravely ill.

"It is not godly to be vengeful and unforgiving toward an ailing former president, his alleged crimes notwithstanding," he said.

Cardinal Wamala criticised those Ugandans - including some who suffered personally during Amin's brutal eight year reign - who are reportedly prepared to celebrate the anticipated news of the dictator's death. Instead, Wamala said, they should be praying for Amin's recovery.

Amin has been hospitalised for over a week in Jeddah, suffering from a variety of symptoms associated with hypertension and obesity. After his arrival at the Saudi hospital, he lapsed into a coma last week when his kidneys failed. He is reported to be 80 years old, although his exact age is unclear.

Catholic World News

Uganda's Idi Amin Remains in a Coma (AP)
Idi Amin's 'condition worsens' (BBC)
Idi Amin Dada Oumee (Killers of the 20th Century)

30 Jul 2003