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Court frees opposition members

By Vision Reporter

Added 11th April 2011 03:00 AM

CITY Hall Court has unconditionally freed seven Democratic Party (DP) members who were earlier arrested and charged with inciting violence and failing to comply with traffic rules.

CITY Hall Court has unconditionally freed seven Democratic Party (DP) members who were earlier arrested and charged with inciting violence and failing to comply with traffic rules.

By Vision Reporters

CITY Hall Court has unconditionally freed seven Democratic Party (DP) members who were earlier arrested and charged with inciting violence and failing to comply with traffic rules.

The arrests were in connection to a demonstration against the escalating high cost of living in the country.

The seven, including party president Norbert Mao, appeared at the court at 6:00pm to take plea. Others were Kenneth Kakande, Mathias Nsubuga, Moses Katabu, Elvis Kintu, William Kamulegeya and Robert Kwesiga.

Grade One Magistrate Juliet Hatanga released them after their lawyer Medard Ssegona raised an objection to the charges, saying the proceedings were being conducted beyond the official court business hours of 8:00am to 5:00pm.

Hatanga agreed with Ssegona, saying the state had breached Article 28 of the Constitution that guarantees a transparent, free and fair trial. The state prosecutor was Joyce Tushabe.

“It is the duty of the state to prosecute cases within its mandate. The state is not an exception and must act within the law. I discharge the accused unconditionally,” Hatanga said.

The magistrate wondered why the state rushed to court yet it was within the mandatory 48 hours to produce the accused in court.

It was alleged that the accused committed the offences at Ntinda trading centre and that they did an “act to cause commotion”. The accused pleaded “not guilty.”

Mao threw the court in bouts of laughter when asked to take plea. “If it is a crime how one goes to work, then I am guilty. If it is a crime to care for Ugandans, then I am guilty. I know nothing of inciting violence,” he said.

The group walked away from court chanting DP slogans as they headed to the party headquarters in the city centre.

Mao was arrested from Ntinda after he defiantly moved on after the police stopped him from proceeding with his walk. The Police fired teargas at his procession.

Mao was then ordered to board a police patrol truck before being whisked away to Kira Road Police station.

Other politicians, Moses Kasibante and Paul Sendaula, were arrested in Rubaga and detained briefly at Old Kampala police station before being arraigned at Muwanga II Court.

Three other opposition politicians Abdu Katuntu, Wafula Oguttu and Jack Sabiiti appeared before Nakawa Court Chief Magistrate and were charged with holding unlawful society, but later granted bail.

Charged before the same court were Phiona Busingye, a student of Uganda Institute of Information Communication Technology and Peace Kansiime, a city businesswoman.

They denied the charge before Chief Magistrate Charles Serubuga who released them on non-cash bond.

Terego county MP Kasiano Wadri, Soroti MP Peter Omoro and Busongora South MP Christopher Kibanzanga stood as sureties for them.

Prosecution led by state attorney Jackie Kyosimire said Oguttu, Sabiiti, Katuntu, Busingye, Kansiime and others still at large yesterday incited and disturbed peace at a fire extinguisher company on Jinja Road in Kampala.

Before the charge was read out to the accused, their lawyer Nasser Abed complained to court that his client Katuntu was wrongly arrested because he had gone to Jinja Road Police Station to represent his colleague.

Serubuga granted the suspects bail, saying their sureties were substantial and responsible citizens who would ensure that the accused attend court whenever they are required.

Compiled by Edward Anyoli,
Andante Okanya, Andrew
Senyonga and Steven Candia



Court frees opposition members

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