6 December 2018

Uganda: High Court Judge Opts Out of Magara Murder Case

High court judge Elizabeth Kabanda has pulled out of the case in which nine suspects are charged with the kidnap and murder of former Bwendero dairy farm cashier Susan Magara.

The late Magara was kidnapped on February 7, along Kabaka Anjagala road in Mengo on her way to her apartment in Lungujja and held captive for three weeks. Later her body was found in Kitiko village between Kajjansi and Kigo along the Entebbe expressway.

Her kidnappers had demanded for a ransom of $1 million before murdering her even when her family had paid Shs 700m. In the aftermath, police arrested scores of people from Usafi mosque who were later charged before Buganda Road court for murder and kidnapping with intentions of seeking ransom.

They include Mahad Kasalita, Yusuf Lubega, Hussein Wasswa, Muzamiru Ssali, Hajara Nakandi, Abubaker Kyewolwa, Hassan Kato Miiro, Ismail Bukenya, and Musa Abbas Buvumbo.

The suspects were later committed to the High court for trial. Now High court judge Kabanda today pulled out of the matter citing conflict of interest.

Kabanda stated that she had known one of the accused persons, Hajara Nakandi for the last 35 years and she wouldn't be able to provide justice in the case. Kabanda did not divulge details about her relationship with Nakandi. She sent the file back to the High court registrar who re-allocated it to Justice Jane Francis Abodo

Meanwhile lawyer Isaac Semakadde, who is handling this application on behalf of the suspects, has said that a team of medics from African Center for Torture Victims is on standby to examine them once the application is allowed. This follows reports that the suspects were tortured while under police custody.

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