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Muslim treason suspects' bail hearing deferred

By Farooq Kasule

Added 7th April 2017 08:31 PM

"we are not ready to proceed with the application. We were served two days prior to the hearing of the application by the defence lawyers..."

Muslim treason suspects' bail hearing deferred

"we are not ready to proceed with the application. We were served two days prior to the hearing of the application by the defence lawyers..."

Muslim treason suspects: Aisha Nakasibante, Yusuf Ssentamu, Murta Bukenya and Muhammad Kaloddo in court on Friday April 7,2017. Photo by Farooq Kasule

The High Court has deferred the hearing of the bail application by 12 Muslims of the Tabliq sect charged with treason.

When the case came up for bail hearing on Friday, senior principal state attorney Thomas Jatiko told court that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) was not ready to proceed with the bail application citing short time given to them to respond to the averments of the applicants.

"As lawyers of the state, we are not ready to proceed with the application. We were served two days prior to the hearing of the application by the defence lawyers. We need more time to peruse through them before we make response" he said.

Jatiko was assisted by principal state Attorney Racheal Bikhole while Dalton Oponya, Friday Roberts Kagoro, Twaha Mayanja and Charles Nsubuga represented the accused.

Jatiko further told court that the office of DPP is only waiting for the matter to be fixed for hearing.

"My Lord before we charged and committed the accused, we collected the evidence against each of the them. We are only waiting for the matter to be fixed and we produce evidence against them," Jatiko said.

The defense lawyers led by Oponya conceded to the fact that state was served late and asked for a two week adjournment.

"Indeed we served state two days prior to the hearing. We are agreeable to the adjournment but it should be a short period of two weeks' time," Oponya said.

But High Court Judge Wilson Kwesiga informed the parties that he would only hear the bail application at the end of May.

"I can only preside over this matter at the end of May. If you feel it is too far for you, you can ask the registrar to allocate the application to another Judge," Kwesiga said.

Kwesiga also directed the criminal division registrar to consider fixing the main case in the nearest time available to court, saying it is a matter of public interest.

The accused who are seeking to be temporarily released on bail pending the hearing of the treason case against them include Dr Aggrey Kiyingi's sister in law Aisha Nakasibante and Sheikh Murta Mudde Bukenya, a brother to Sheikh Muhammad Kamoga.

Bukenya is among the 14 people currently facing trial at International Crimes Division of the High Court over the murder of sheikhs Mustafa Bahiga and Hassan Kirya.

Others accused include Alex Okot, Arajab Mubaje, Solomon Kibirige, Muhammad Kaloddo, Ismail Ssentogo, Wadwali Safiyu, Asadu Ssemwogerere , Ssentamu Yusuf, Isa Matanda, Haj Abdul Latif Byamukama and Sulaiman Magombe.

Prosecution alleges that the accused and others at large between January 2014 and June 2015 in Kampala, Wakiso, Gulu, Kitgum, Mbale, Masaka, Mpigi, Rakai, Jinja and United Arab Emirates, Kenya and Tanzania contrived a plot to overthrow the government by force of arms which they expressed by utterances and overt acts.

It further alleges that the accused also between December 2013 and June 2015 at various places in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and United Arab Emirates knew a group of people plotting to overthrow the government but failed to inform the relevant authorities.

The DPP last year dropped the murder and terrorism charges against the accused in connection to the murder of a number of Muslim clerics in the country.

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