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Court orders release of William street mosque suspects

By Farooq Kasule

Added 12th July 2020 12:43 PM

It followed an application by the suspect’s lawyer Twaha Mayanja in which he sued Ochola, Attorney General William Byaruhanga, Internal Security Organisation Director-General Col Kaka Bagyenda and the commandant of special investigations unit in Kireka.

Court orders release of William street mosque suspects

Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate Stella Maris Amabilis made the directive on Friday.

It followed an application by the suspect’s lawyer Twaha Mayanja in which he sued Ochola, Attorney General William Byaruhanga, Internal Security Organisation Director-General Col Kaka Bagyenda and the commandant of special investigations unit in Kireka.

COURT   RELIGION

KAMPALA - Court has directed the Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola to release seven Muslims arrested during the takeover of William street mosque administration by Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) last week.

Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate Stella Maris Amabilis made the directive on Friday.

It followed an application by the suspect's lawyer Twaha Mayanja in which he sued Ochola, Attorney General William Byaruhanga, Internal Security Organisation Director-General Col Kaka Bagyenda and the commandant of special investigations unit in Kireka.

Mayanja accused the security agencies of keeping in custody Ayub Nyende, Ahmada Kasujja, Sharif Matovu, Juma Kavuma, Hamdan Lutu, Musa Sekandi and Ibrahim Ssenfuka beyond 48-hours contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.

"Court orders that the seven applicants be unconditionally released from Police custody and or in alternative charged before a competent court," Amabilis ruled.

Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman, Patrick Onyango told NewVision that the group faces charges of obstruction, threatening violence, criminal trespass and embezzlement.

During the takeover, Musa Lukandwa who identified himself as the chief coordinator of Muslims in Kampala Metropolitan area revealed that UMSC took over of the administration of the mosque over failure by its management to account for the money collected from the property.

Lukandwa purported that the property has been generating at least sh100m every month, but the management had failed to account for over sh12b, which they had allegedly collected since 2006.

He accused Nyende, the secretary-general of Jamuiyyat Dawa Assalafiyyah, an organisation that has been managing the mosque and Haruna Miradu, a top executive of failing to provide proper accountability for the funds.

Last week, UMSC secretary-general Haji Ramathan Mugalu explained that they repossessed the administration of the mosque because it had become a hub for hate speech.

"Many people have been wondering why we took over the administration of William street mosque.  We repossessed it because it had become a hub for hate speech. Secondly, the mosque management had failed to account for the money collected since 2006 and as custodians of Muslim property we decided to repossess it," Mugalu explained.

Mugalu, however, said the mosque will remain a worship centre for all Muslims.

"The process to institute leadership at the mosque is underway and Muslims should not be worried because it's only the administration that is going to change," he noted.

In 2008, UMSC leased property to businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba who later sold it to Drake Lubega. This led to the creation of a parallel Muslim administration at Kibuli.

In 2016, President Yoweri Museveni compensated Lubega and returned the land to the Muslim Community.

Mugalu explained that UMSC leased the land because its lease had remained with only two years to expire yet they had no money and thought it wise to get a developer.

"We thank those who resisted against the takeover of the mosque and thank God that President Museveni bailed us but this does not mean that it had become an individual property," Mugalu explained.

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