TOP
Wednesday,August 12,2020 06:15 AM

PRA rebel suspect: I want justice

By Vision Reporter

Added 3rd March 2015 06:14 PM

A former UPDF captain, Amon Byarugaba, who was been in prison since 2003 over his connection to the People’s Redemption Army (PRA) rebel organization is crying out for justice.

PRA rebel suspect: I want justice

A former UPDF captain, Amon Byarugaba, who was been in prison since 2003 over his connection to the People’s Redemption Army (PRA) rebel organization is crying out for justice.


By Pascal Kwesiga                            

A former UPDF captain, Amon Byarugaba, who was been in prison since 2003 over his connection to the People’s Redemption Army (PRA) rebel organization is crying out for justice.

According to court records, Byarugaba, who retired from UPDF before he reportedly joined the PRA ranks, was arrested in the training camp of the rebel outfit in Ituri forest in DRC in 2003 by the Ugandan military.

Byarugaba and 24 others were charged with treason and concealment of treason in April 2003.

The General Court Martial judge advisor, Lt. Col. Gideon Katinda, summed up the facts regarding case for the court to consider the judgment last week.

Katinda said some of Byarugaba’s co accused persons died in custody while others were granted amnesty.

Byarugaba maintained his innocence and his trial commenced. One of the prosecution’s witnesses, Maj. Joseph Okaleb, according to trial proceedings, told court he attended training sponsored by PRA with the accused between 2001 and 2003 in Rwanda.

Okaleb stated that the rebel outfit reportedly led by Col. Samsom Mande and Col. Anthony Kyakabale operated a training camp in Kabuga, Rwanda before the camp was relocated to DRC.

Mande and Kyakabale, the former UPDF senior officers who participated in the National Resistance Army that delivered President Yoweri Museveni into power in 1986 fled to Rwanda after falling out with the government in 2001.

They were relocated to Sweden in 2003 to ease tensions between Uganda and Rwanda after the former declared the later enemy state for hobouring dissidents.

The witness disclosed that he was arrested along with Byarugaba, who he said was a Kiswahili language instructor in the camp in Ituri forest before they were transferred to Uganda.

Another prosecution witness said he attended training with the accused in Rwanda after which they were deployed to fight to remove Museveni’s government.

PRA, according to the witness, had sophisticated military hardware including anti-tank guns which were assigned to fighters after the training.

Maj. Michael Opio, another prosecution witness, according to trial proceedings, disclosed that Byarugaba, Mande and Kyakabale formed the core command of the rebel group.

The accused’s lawyer, Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, submitted that his client had no case to answer and asked court to dismiss the charges without putting him to his defense.

Court established the state had made out a case against Byarugaba and asked him to defend himself, but he chose to keep quiet. Rwakafuuzi had submitted that the witnesses were accomplices, and that the accused was no longer subject to military law because he retired.

He argued that no weapon was produced in court to prove the existence of a plot to overthrow government, and that his long detention without a trial and a decision by military police not to produce the accused in court following a High Court order violated his rights.

The court will deliver judgment on March 24. Rwakafuuzi expressed worry the current members of the court martial do not have facts about the case, and that the court’s composition has changed several time since the trial began. “You didn’t hear the evidence and you are going to decide his fate,” he said.

The court chairman, Maj. Gen. Levy Karuhanga said “We have got the information about the case,” Rwakafuuzi replied.

 

PRA rebel suspect: I want justice

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author