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Relatives of re-arrested Kaweesi murder suspects file suit

By Farooq Kasule

Added 17th September 2019 10:04 AM

Prosecution alleges that the group for purposes of influencing government involved themselves in complicity of murder of Andrew Felix Kaweesi

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Suspects in the murder of Andrew Felix Kaweesi pictured arriving at the High Court in Kololo earlier this month. Photo by Ramadhan Abbey

Prosecution alleges that the group for purposes of influencing government involved themselves in complicity of murder of Andrew Felix Kaweesi

Relatives of the three men who were rearrested last week by plainclothes security operatives shortly after the International Crimes Division of the High Court released them on bail have sued the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola.

In a suit lodged before the Civil Division of the High Court on Monday, the relatives want Ochola compelled to set the trio free or produce them before the courts of law with immediate effect.

The habeas corpus application was filed by their lawyer Anthony Wameli, who says that his efforts to trace them have been futile despite the fact that he has been informed that they are currently detained at the Special Investigations Division in Kireka.

“I was informed that they are detained at the Special Investigations Division in Kireka. However, I have been denied access to them,” Wameli said.

Last week on Wednesday, Yusuf Nyanzi alias Jimmy Ssentamu, Jibril Kalyango alias Abu Aisha and Yusuf Mugerwa alias Wilson and taken to an unknown destination.

The group is part of the 23 suspects that were charged with Kaweesi's murder and later committed to the High Court on October 23, 2017, to stand trial.

Kaweesi was killed in cold blood on March 17, 2017, in Kulambiro, Nakawa division together with his bodyguard Kenneth Erau and driver Geoffrey Mambewo.

The Army has since owned up to their re-arrest. Army spokesperson, Brig. Richard Karemire recently revealed that the suspects were picked by joint security forces and are detained in a duly gazetted detention facility because they are a threat to national security.

“Our people deserve peace and security forces will do whatever they can within the laws established to ensure that,” Keremire said.

Karemire, however, declined to reveal the exact place where they are being detained.

The charge

The prosecution alleges that the group between January and March 2017 in diverse districts of Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, Jinja, Iganga, Bugiri, Busia, Tororo and others still at large for purposes of influencing government involved themselves in complicity of the murder of Kaweesi.

It further alleges that the accused rendered support to Balyejusa and Ogutu, who are alleged known members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group in executing terrorism Acts.

They are also battling charges of aggravated robbery and aiding and abetting terrorism contrary to the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2002.   

Meanwhile, Muslim lawyers under their umbrella body, the Uganda Muslim Lawyers Association (UMLS), have also joined the trio’s legal team.

“We are going to take all legal measures to ensure that these people enjoy their freedom because granting them bail does not mean they have been acquitted,” Hakim Lubega said.

Lubega noted that the manner in which the group was rearrested could cause people to lose trust and withdraw cooperation with such institutions, thereby withholding relevant information.

Luyimbaazi Nalukoola urged security organs to desist from the vice, warning that people may decide to go native and engage in extra-legal means to defend their inherent rights.

“We call upon the Chief Justice top come up with a stern warning to the executive arm of government on these abuses, least the well-meaning public will judge us badly for abdicating our responsibilities,” Nalukoola said.

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