9 February 2016

Uganda: Sejusa Further Remanded Till Feb 23

The General Court Martial has further remanded incarcerated General David Sejusa until the next case hearing on February 23, 2016.

The former coordinator of intelligence had hoped to be granted bail by the Court Martial on grounds that there is a pending case before the High Court to determine whether he is a serving soldier or not.

Also, that an advanced age of 61, he can't handle prison conditions, he is the sole breadwinner for his family; and has children attending both university and high school that depend on his support.

His lawyers have said they will appeal against the General Court Martial (GCM) decision to further remand their client, saying it was 'predetermined' to keep Gen Sejusa out of the electoral process especially the presidential election on February 18. Before the hearing began at about 11am, the army banned live broadcast of the court proceeding citing 'security concerns'.

GCM's objection to Sejusa's bail application was based on the rejection of sureties presented by the defense team and on Sejusa's possibility to influence ongoing investigations in relation to his trial.

The defense team had presented Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Dr Deo Kizito Lukyamuzi, a surgeon at the Kampala-based Case Hospital to stand surety for Sejusa. Court objected the two sureties saying that they were unsubstantial and could not stand surety for a person at the rank of a General in Uganda's military.

Chairman of the General Court Martial Maj. Gen Levy Karuhanga stated that Lukwago and Lukyamuzi, as civilians, do not have the capacity to command a General of Sejusa's nature to appear before court if he chooses not to do so.

He added that the defense team should have approached serving officers at the same rank as Gen Sejusa, to stand surety for him. He added that Sejusa, as a high ranking officer of the army, is likely to influence investigations if he is not incarcerated because all senior and junior officers handling the task were once under his direct command.

Sejusa was first remanded to Luzira prison last week after being charged with absence from duty without leave, conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline of the army, participating in political party activities and insubordination. He was arrested from his home in Naguru on January 31 2016 by Military Police.

On Friday, Sejusa's legal team petitioned the High Court in Kampala for orders to block his prosecution before the GCM. They contend that the criminal proceedings before the military court must be stayed until the High Court determines whether he is still a serving military officer who should be subjected to military law.

Prosecution at the GCM alleges that Sejusa disobeyed lawful orders, having been asked by the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) General Katumba Wamala not to involve himself in politics and making public statements contrary to the code of conduct of the Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF).

Sejusa argues that he was 'constructively dismissed' when the army withdrew his guns and uniform, stopped paying his salaries and allowances or deploy him.

Last week, President Museveni also commander-in-chief of the army, said they could not afford to "offload a troublemaker unto society" to cause even more trouble and that it was the army's responsibility to "process" him before he could be retired.

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