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Police demand the amendment of the 48 hours detention rule
“We can’t produce terrorism suspects in 2 days, because it requires much time to carry out forensic evaluations," said Kasingye.
PIC: IGP, Martins Okoth Ochola. (File photo)
The Uganda Police Force (UPF) has demanded that Parliament amends the Constitution to extend the mandatory 48 hours within which suspects are supposed to be produced before courts of law.
They argue that the 48 hours is not sufficient for police to conclude investigation especially in more serious and complicated crimes such as terrorism and murder.
Internal affairs state minister Mario Obiga Kania, said, "Police requests that the committees' support to Parliament to cause for an amendment of the 48 hour rule in detention to pave way for serious investigations."
Article 23 (4) of the Constitution of Uganda grants suspects under detention a right to be brought before court not later than 48 hours from the time of their arrest.
Led by Obiga Kania, the Inspector General of Police ( IGP), Martins Okoth Ochola and the Deputy IGP, Mzeeyi Sabiiti, Assistant Inspector General of the Police, Asan Kasingye among others appeared before the Human Rights commiittee of parliament yesterday to respond to issues raised by the Uganda Human Rights Commission 19th Annual report.
According to the report, police has continued to flout the 48 Hour rule which provides for the production of suspects before a Court of law within 48 hours after their arrest.
Obiga said they face a number of challenges in enforcing this rule, some of which are not of their own making.
"It is our intention at an appropriate time to propose a constitutional amendment where the rule will apply to the majority of cases but not all."Obiga explained.
Obiga pointed out that the police wants exceptions in this rule to include cases committed across borders or within borders but whose investigations require movements across the country and capital cases that require extensive investigations like murder and terrorism.
Kasingye explained "We can't produce terrorism suspects in 2 days, because it requires much time to carry out forensic evaluations, In Uganda we don't have laboratories and equipment to test for bomb exhibits, also we need enough time to investigate the sponsors of terrorism ."
However the legislators are opposed to the amendment of the constitution. The amendment is uncalled for and will be fought at all levels because it is against the human rights.
The Bukoto Mid-west MP, Joseph Kasozi said, "It is now clear that police flouts the rule simply because they carry out arrests of suspects before carrying out investigations, police should be more proactive and train and retrain the CID department to do thorough investigations," Kasozi said.
The Human right committee chairperson Safia Nalule MP for People With Disability (PWDs)said if the law is amended petty thieves will spend days in detention than the mandatory 48 hours before being produced to the courts of law. "Put yourself in that persons shoes who are detained for days without appearing before the magistrate. Nalule asked Ochola.
"We can't believe that in this century police can think of increasing the time of producing suspects before Court when other countries in the region and world over have reduced the time," noted Kaberamaido County MP, Veronica Eragu.
Eragu said that this speaks volumes to Police's incompetence in regard to carrying out thorough investigations.
The committee recommended that the police force should adhere to the law and equip its officers with the necessary facilities to enable them efficiently perform their duties and fulfill the constitutional obligation to bring suspects to Court within 48 hours. Ends