12 December 2017

Uganda: Inmates Cry Out Over Missing Case Files

Nakasongola — Inmates at Nakasongola Government Prison have decried the continued disappearance of files for convicts with appeal cases.

They have also expressed concern over delay in hearing their cases which they say has led to long stay on remand.

The inmates made the remarks during the official launch of plea bargain judicial programme for Luweero, Nakasongola and Nakaseke districts at the prison at the weekend.

Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine was the chief guest.

"We do not know how you will handle that wild beast which steals and disappears with case files for convicts who have appealed against their respective court judgments and sentences. Prisoners on remand are made to wait for so long because of the uncertainty regarding the scheduling of the High Court sessions," Mr Cyrus Mugobi, a convict, told Justice Bamwine.

Justice Bamwine said he was touched by the inmates' frustrations and promised to investigate the matter. " Today , I am here to roll out the plea bargain programme and since I have received your petition I will also investigate allegations of missing appeal files," he said.

Three years ago, a former High Court Justice Anup Singh Choudry said there were some mafias in the judiciary who are responsible for disappearance of sensitive case files, but Justice Bamwine dismissed the allegations as baseless.

The prisoners also hinted on the presidential pardon, which they claimed could see some of them who have served the biggest part of their sentence including those with ill health pardoned.

"We have been hearing about the presidential pardon, but it has never been extended to inmates at Nakasongola. We also fear that the prisoners may not be safe even after serving their respective sentences since the country has seen unfortunate incidents meted out at people set free from detention facilities," the prisoners said in a memorandum presented to Justice Bamwine.

Justie Bamwine said the plea bargain court procedure will help to de-congest the prisons and eliminate case back log.

Records

Records from Nakasongola prison indicate that the facility has a total of 1,350 inmates with about 800 of them on remand waiting for High Court sessions.

Uganda

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