The Court of Appeal had summoned the DPP and the officer in charge of Luzira Upper Prison to explain why Amir Kinene remained incarcerated long after his acquittal.
KAMPALA - The Court of Appeal has ordered the release of a Ugandan man who was acquitted of terrorism and murder but was still in prison two years later.
The order to free Amir Kinene was by the Deputy Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, on Tuesday.
The court had summoned the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the officer in charge of Luzira Upper Prison to explain why Kinene remained incarcerated long after his acquittal.
On Monday, a panel of three justices headed by Justice Owiny-Dollo heard that Kinene was still behind bars despite the fact that he was one of the eight men who were acquitted of terrorism and murder in connection with the killing of Muslim clerics by the International Crimes Division of the High Court in 2017.
While issuing an order to have Kinene produced in court on Tuesday, Owiny-Dollo said the court also wanted the DPP and the officer in charge of Upper Prison in court to "explain why Kinene was remanded, instead of being set free as per the court judgment".
The directive followed a cross-appeal by the DPP against the acquittal of Sheikh Muhammad Yunus Kamoga and six others of the charge of murder of sheikhs Hassan Ibrahim Kirya and Mustafa Bahiga.
In the cross-appeal, the DPP wanted Kinene to be convicted of murder, alongside sheikhs Kamoga, Murta Mudde Bukenya, Siraje Kawooya, Fahad Kalungi, Yusuf Kakande and Abdu Salaam Sekayanja.
Earlier, Senior State Attorney Stanley Baine had told the court that Kinene was remanded over another charge, but did not give the details of the alleged new offences. As a result, the court demanded an explanation from the Prisons officers, who had accompanied Kinene’s colleagues to court.
Assistant Superintendent of Prison Sam Ekalam told the court on Monday that Kinene was on remand because there was something in the judgment that was not clear.
“My lords, it is true that we have Kinene in Luzira Upper Prison because there was something in the judgment that was not clear to us. His lawyers wrote to the DPP recently, but we have not received a response. There was a mix-up in the file,” said Ekalam.
The Deputy Chief Justice questioned where the Prisons got powers to remand a suspect who has been set free by a court of law.
“Where did you get powers to remand a suspect? The DPP does not acquit suspects. It is only the courts of law that remand suspects."
Upon listening to Ekalam’s submissions, Justice Cheborion Barishaki said there was nothing unclear in the judgment as he read the particular decision of the court. Justice Owiny-Dollo ruled that the court would hear the cross-appeal by the DPP today (Tuesday) after resolving Kinene’s issue.
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