21 May 2019

Uganda: Government Denies Deal With South Africa Over Pato Trial

Kampala — The arrest and extradition of key suspect in Susan Magara murder still remains a mystery given the fact that South African law does not allow deportation of a suspect on a charge to where he or she is likely to face death penalty unless there is written commitment from the home country that the accused will not get such a sentence upon conviction.

Patrick Kasaija, alias Pato, was extradited from South Africa last week on charges of murder and kidnap with intent to procure a ransom. In Uganda, murder attracts up to a death sentence.

In September 2011, the South Africa Constitutional Court blocked extradition of two Botswana nationals facing murder charges at home on account that their deportation was unconstitutional without written assurance from the government of Botswana that they "will not face the death penalty there under any circumstance".

However, in the case of Kasaija, the Uganda Police Force and the Director of Public Prosecutions, said they did not make any assurance to South Africa for Pato to be extradited home.

Police spokesperson Commissioner Fred Enanga said they submitted their request for the extradition and secured a court warrant and later, an Interpol Red Notice without making an assurance to the South African government about the penalty Kasaija would face if found guilty and convicted.

"There were no proposals made by South Africa or us. Our Inspector General of Police and Director of Public Prosecutions wrote to their counterparts in South Africa that he (Pato) was a fugitive wanted in the investigation of the death of Susan Magara," Mr Enanga said.

The deputy spokesperson of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms Irene Nakimbugwe, said they did not hold any negotiations for such assurances with their South African counterparts.

Efforts to talk to South African officer-in-charge of Media Relations in Johannesburg Brig Vish Naido were futile. His assistant, who picked our calls, said he was in a meeting.

Co-acccused

Kasaija is charged jointly with Yusuf Lubega, 32, (a boda boda rider), Hussein Wasswa, 22, (a hawker), Muzamiru Ssali, 27, (boda boda rider), Hajara Nakandi, 35, (a teacher), Abubaker Kyewolwa, 30, (a businessman), Mahad Kasalita (an Imam at Usafi Mosque), Hassan Kato Miiro, 22, and Ismail Bukenya (businessman).

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