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Nyanzi's Makerere supporters denied bail as exams loom

By Michael Odeng, Farooq Kasule

Added 23rd May 2017 06:23 AM

According to new lawyer of the accused the Magistrate’s refusal to hear the accused bail application is unlawful

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Lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde talking to the Makerere University students at Buganda Road Court. Photo by Tony Rujuta

According to new lawyer of the accused the Magistrate’s refusal to hear the accused bail application is unlawful

Four students of Makerere University who were recently arrested over protesting against Dr. Stella Nyazi’s remand at Luzira Prison have been denied bail.

In Tuesday, Grade One Magistrate, Gladys Kamasanyu, declined to hear their bail application and directed that trial should proceed.  

This followed an application by State Attorney Patricia Cingatho, who told court that she was only ready for hearing of the case but not the bail application of the accused. So far two witnesses have testified against the accused.

The magistrate also blamed the accused for errors and lapses by their former lawyer, Aaron Kiiza, who abandoned them without giving court an explanation before she adjourned the case to Wednesday for further hearing.

They include Edmond Kahigi, 22, Stephen Ariho, Roy Rugumayo and Hannington Mugarura.  They are battling charges of inciting violence contrary to section 83 (1) of the Penal Code Act.

Prosecution alleges that on May 10, 2017 at Buganda Road Court in Kampala without lawful excuse, made statements calculated to incite violence against the public. 

They were arrested at Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s court premises, the day Nyanzi was released on bail by Chief Magistrate James Ereemye Mawanda. They held placards, demanding Nyanzi's release from Luzira.

r tella yanzi was in court too hoto by ony ujutaDr Stella Nyanzi was in court too. Photo by Tony Rujuta

On April 10, Nyanzi, 42, was charged with two counts of Cyber Harassment and Offensive Communication under section 24 and 25 of the Computer Misuse Act 2011 before the Magistrate's Court.

According to new lawyer of the accused, Isaac Ssemakadde, the Magistrate’s refusal to hear the accused bail application is unlawful, improper and irregular contrary to the cardinal duty imposed on the trial court by Article 20, 23, and 28 of the Constitution.

“Her conduct also violates section 75 of the Magistrate’s Court Act, which provides for respect, upholding and promoting all rights to liberty and presumption of innocence in the course of trial,” he said.  

Ssemakadde further stated that the injudicious determination by the Magistrate has robbed the students of a chance to sit end of semester exams which start May 26.

“We have been denied both equal protection of the law and fair treatment before the land Magistrate. It is also a punishment as based on our political opinion or social standing,” accused Kahigi protested.

They want the case to be relocated to another magistrate, citing bias. The court was packed with students of Makerere University. Nyanzi was also seated in the audience following proceedings.

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