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How Appellate court overturned Kamoga terror conviction

By Farooq Kasule and Andante Okanya

Added 5th September 2020 12:20 PM

Kamoga, Kawooya, Bukenya and Kalungi were sentenced to life imprisonment. Disappointed with conviction and sentence, they petitioned the Appellate Court to quash the conviction.

How Appellate court overturned Kamoga terror conviction

Tabliq leader Amir Ummah sheikh Muhammad Yunus Kamoga (File photo)

Kamoga, Kawooya, Bukenya and Kalungi were sentenced to life imprisonment. Disappointed with conviction and sentence, they petitioned the Appellate Court to quash the conviction.

Tabliq leader Sheikh Muhammad Yunus Kamoga on Wednesday (September 2) regained freedom after the Court of Appeal overturned his 2017 terror conviction.

The Appellate Court in a unanimous decision, pronounced: "Acts of terrorism must have the character of indiscriminateness in effect and the manner of their execution.

"In the instant case, there was no such indiscriminateness because a constituent ingredient of the offence was not proved. Their conviction is hereby quashed," court pronounced.

While observing the COVID-19 standard operating procedures, friends and family of the appellants, gathered at the Nakasero-based court as early as 9:00am.

The appellants followed proceedings from Luzira Prison via Zoom. The registrar read the verdict.

On August 21, 2017, Kamoga was convicted of terrorism together with senior clerics, but the panel of justices at the International Crimes Division of the High Court: Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Percy Night Tuhaise and Jane Kiggundu, exonerated them on murder and attempted murder charges.

They allegedly threatened violence against Sheikhs Hassan Kirya (deceased), Mustafa Bahiga (deceased), Swidiq Ndawula, Najib Ssonko and Dr Haruna Jjemba among others.

Kamoga's co-accused were Sheikhs Siraje Kawooya, Murta Mudde Bukenya, Fahad Kalungi, Abdu Salaam Ssekayanja alias Kasim Mulumba and Yusuf Kakande.

Kamoga, Kawooya, Bukenya and Kalungi were sentenced to life imprisonment. Ssekayanja and Kakande were jailed 30 years each. Disappointed with conviction and sentence, they petitioned the Appellate Court to quash the conviction.

APPELLATE COURT RESOLUTION

Chief Justice-designate Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, Elizabeth Musoke and Cheborion Barishaki on Wednesday(September 2) set aside their conviction on grounds that prosecution failed to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, a crucial ingredient of terrorism.

In their 43-page judgement, the Justices said the fliers with portraits of the presumed victims of their acts, did not convey any threat or attack against them.

The court, however, said the ingredients of uttering threats for political or religious agenda was proved beyond reasonable doubt against them since the victims were members of "Jamiya Daawa Asalafi ya" Muslim sect.

They also absolved the lower court justices of fault when they relied on evidence given on oath by Haj Hamis Kakomo, to reach their decision.

The judges said the only uncertainty of the appellants' actions was in regard to Prince Kassim Nakibinge Kakungulu, the titular leader of the Muslim community in the country.

The acquittal of Kamoga and his colleagues on all the charges leaves a hard question on who killed Bahiga and Kirya, among other Muslim clerics.

Shortly after the verdict delivery, the ecstatic defence lawyers, led by MacDosman Kabega and Fred Muwema, noted that they would file for damages over malicious prosecution.

The defence team also comprised Friday Roberts Kagoro, Twaha Mayanja, Allen Kagoya, Lamula Nalujja, and Charles Nsubuga. 

 

 

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