Uganda: Judiciary Condemns Re-Arrest of Freed Suspects

13 September 2019

Kampala — The Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has, in a statement, condemned security operatives for re-arresting suspects that court granted bail.

"This high handedness in the re-arrest of persons released by courts is a direct affront to the much cherished rule of law in Uganda. An advocate is an officer of court and must be accorded protection when he or she is executing professional services to accused persons or litigants in courts of law," the statement reads in part.

It came shortly after police preferred a charge of allegedly obstructing police officers on duty against Mr James Mubiru, one of the lawyers representing eight suspects accused of murdering the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Andrew Felix Kaweesi.

The suspects and their lawyer were on Wednesday brutally arrested by gunmen after the International Crimes Division (ICD) Court released them on bail.

Justice Owiny-Dollo also noted that such blatant actions lead to people's loss of faith in courts which can only result in grave ramifications where people choose to take the law into their hands. "The continued rearrests of suspects in the precincts of the court yet again by security agencies is a sad reminder that more still needs to be done to instil the importance of the rule of law in the institutions charged with keeping law and order," the judge stated.

"Even where courts have made decisions considered to be wrong, the proper course of action is to seek redress within the law," he added.

Caution

Justice Owiny-Dollo urged security agencies to refrain from flagrant abuse of the law thus seeking the perpetrators of such acts be brought to book as a clear and unmistakable statement that actions as this one cannot be tolerable.

The suspects Yusuf Mugerwa, alias Wilson, Jibril Kalyango, alias Abu Aisha and Yusuf Siraje Nyanzi, alias Jimmy Ssentamu, were on Wednesday officially released by court on bail pending the hearing of their case.

However, Mr Wameli told this newspaper that he had been informed by one of the police officers at Jinja Road Police Station that the re-arrested suspects were at Kireka Special Investigation Unit (SIU) except Nyanzi who escaped.

Meanwhile, three out of the four men implicated in Kaweesi's murder failed to secure their release on bail before Nabweru Magistrate's Court.

The trio Noordin Higenyi, alias Taata Abdallazak, Abdurashid Mbaziira and Bruhan Balyejusa, alias Jimmy Masiga Ogutu, were returned to Luzira on Wednesday after prison authorities informed ICD that they had warrants to present the trio before the Nabweru court yesterday on three charges of procuring National IDs in other people's names.

During the court session, their lawyer, Mr Godfrey Turyamusiima, claimed that they were granted a non- cash bail by the presiding Grade One Magistrate, Mr George Mftitundinda, at Nabweru court.

He added that since the ICD had also cleared them on bail for Kaweesi murder charges, they ought to have been set free.

Mr Mftitundinda said a mistake was made during typing of the court record as it was requested by their lawyer but they are supposed to pay a cash bail each of Shs6 million before leaving custody.

The trial magistrate also threatened to dismiss the charges if prosecution does not present a police file in court on the next hearing on September 26.

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