Activists yesterday described the release of Asian businessman Sharma Kooky, who was sentenced to death for the murder of his wife about 12 years ago, as a shock, questioning the criteria used. Kooky walked to freedom following a presidential directive to the Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr Johnson Byabashaija, for his release on prerogative of mercy. The officer in-charge of Upper Prisons, Mr Wilson Magomu, flagged off Kooky who was received by relatives at Luzira Maximum Security Prison yesterday. But women activists yesterday said his release sends a bad signal to other criminals, who can now think they will survive despite committing such grave acts. It is very unfortunate that the law mandates the President (Museveni) to order for release of any person. I dont know the criteria followed and I am sure he did not repent but he should have paid for the crime he committed, Ms Sheila Kawamara, the chairperson of Uganda Womens Network, said. I am short of words but I think the public should rise up and demand government to release other convicts, including women who are there without help, she said. The Supreme Court, in 2000 upheld the judgements of the Court of Appeal and the High Court, in which Kooky was sentenced to death for murdering his wife, Renu Joshi, by electrocution in December 1997 at their home on Martin Road in Old Kampala. However, Kookys sentence in 2009 was commited to life following a Supreme Court judgement that death penalties could be converted into life imprisonment if those convicted are not executed within a period of three years.