Wednesday March 14 2018

Mayor torture: Lawyer denied access to suspect

Geoffrey Byamukama

Mr Geoffrey Byamukama, has castigated the army for denying him access to his client and failing to present him in court. Photo by BETTY NDAGIRE 


KAMPALA: A lawyer for one of the suspects charged with torturing Kamwenge Mayor, Mr Geoffrey Byamukama, has castigated the army for denying him access to his client and failing to present him in court.

The suspect Abdu Semujju, who is in military detention at Makindye, was expected to appear at Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court last week.

However, defence lawyer Mr Ronald Natuhwera said the army at Makindye barracks denied him permission to meet Semujju.

Semujju is charged alongside four police officers: Patrick Muramira, Fred Tumuhairwe, Habib Roma and Ben Odeke.

“I was told the accused is on remand, I went to Luzira prison, but the officers there told me he was at Makindye detention centre. We went there but we were denied access. I pray that with the guidance of this court my A5 (Accused No. 5 - Semujju) is brought to attend court,” Mr Natuhwera told presiding magistrate Mr James Ereemye.

In reply, state prosecutor, Mr Jonathan Muwaganya, argued that he is not familiar with proceedings before the General Court Martial and suggested to court to issue a production warrant addressed to the officer in charge of Makindye army detention centre where the accused is held.

Magistrate Mr Ereemye concurred with the prosecution’s suggestion to issue the production warrant.
Last year, court granted bail to the suspects on condition that they stay away from their workplaces until conclusion of investigations and the trial.

The accused persons are charged with torture and causing grievous bodily harm to Mayor Byamukama.
According to the charge sheet, the suspects tortured the mayor using a baton and iron bar which inflicted serious injuries on his knees and ankles during his arrest.

Pictures of Mr Byamukama with dreadful wounds lying helpless on bed at Nakasero Hospital leaked to the media and went viral on social media networks.

The incident triggered public outrage and President Museveni wrote to heads of security agencies including the then head of police Gen Kale Kayihura and Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi warning them to never torture suspects in order to extract confessions on the alleged offences against them.
The case was adjourned to March 22.