22 March 2019

Uganda: Bailed Kaweesi Murder Suspects Fear Re-Arrest

Relatives of eight suspects who are accused of killing the former Police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi are uncertain whether they will regain freedom on Friday.

The suspects are Abdul-Rashid Mbaziira alias Muhammed Buyondo, Aramanzani Noordin Higenyi alias Taata Abdullazack, Yusuf Mugerwa alias Wilson, Bruhan Balyejusa alias Jimmy Masiga Ogutu, Joshua Magezi Kyambadde alias Abdu Rahman, Jibril Kalyango alias Abu Aisha, Yusuf Siraje Nyanzi alias Jimmy Ssentamu and Shafik Kasujja.

They were granted bail by Justice Lydia Mugambe of the International Crimes Division of High Court on Tuesday after spending two years on remand.

Justice Mugambe granted them bail on grounds that they had overstayed on remand without trial.

However, the suspects were returned to Luzira Prison to ensure that all the paperwork is done.

Ms Sumaya Musa Namulindwa, the wife of Yusuf Siraje Nyanzi, one of the suspects, says she is worried that her husband might be re-arrested after being bailed.

According to Ms Namulindwa, they saw tinted vehicles around the court premises on Tuesday shortly after the suspects were granted bail.

She appealed to human rights bodies to help them from the current situation, saying the families of the suspects have been through a lot of suffering.

Mr Bruhan Ssenabulya, an elder brother of Jibril Kalyango alias Abu Aisha, one of the suspects, says suspects appealed to President Yoweri Museveni to save them from the embarrassment of re-arresting their relatives.

Mr Anthony Wameli, one of the advocates of the suspects, says while the judge was pleased to grant them bail, they were shocked to see vehicles that were previously used to re-arrest bailed suspects near court premises.

According to Mr Wameli, there is no reason for security agencies to fear that the bailed suspects would skip court.

Mr Abdul-Hakim Lubega, the President of the Uganda Muslim Lawyers Association (UMLA), says the tactic of security organs to slap fresh charges against bailed suspects in order to re-arrest them has become common.

He, however, says this undermines the constitutional rights to liberty and presumption of innocence for any Muslim suspected of terror.

"UMLA condemns terrorism and other offenses committed by Muslims and other persons. However, we also condemn the relentless attack by the Uganda Police Force and its sister agencies in the security and intelligence sector on the constitutional rights of Muslim suspects who are granted bail or acquitted by courts of law," Mr Lubega said.

He urged the government, Ugandans and the international community to join the Muslim community to condemn "selective, victimisation, stigmatisation and ostracisation" of Muslims in the criminal justice system.

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