Kyaddondo East MP, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine who was arrested on Monday in Arua town together with several opposition politicians, has been arraigned before the General Court Martial in Gulu and charged with unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
The court was chaired by Lt Gen Andrew Gutti.
According to a Thursday statement by the army spokesperson, Brig, Richard Karemire, the MP has was subsequently remanded until Thursday next week.
“As part of the investigations into these acts of violence, the Police arrested key organizers and participants including Hon Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi the Member of Parliament for Kyadondo East Constituency. During the search of his hotel room by investigators, he was found possessing arms and ammunition which are ordinarily a monopoly of the Defence Forces,” Brig Karemire’s statement reads in part. “Consequently, Hon Kyagulanyi has today been arraigned before the General Court Martial in Gulu and charged under S 119 (1) (h) of the UPDF Act, 2005 on accounts of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition. He has subsequently been remanded till 23rd August 2018”.
He was charged in the presence of only his two lawyers; Mr Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri Municipality MP) and Mr Medard Seggona (Busiro East MP).
According Mr Asuman Basalirwa, Mr Kyagulanyi’s lawyer, who was inside the courtroom, his client’s face was swollen and could hardly talk or walk.
Mr Seggona said Mr Kyagulanyi didn’t take plea since he was in a very poor health condition and handcuffed.
“Mr Kyagulanyi’s health is in dire state. He is in great pain. He can’t talk, he can’t walk, he sits with a lot of difficulty, his face is swollen and cannot see because of the torture by SFC soldiers. He couldn’t speak when the charges were read to him and I believe he didn’t know what was going or understood the charges read to him,” Mr Seggona told journalists.
Mr Basalirwa said Mr Kyagulanyi was airlifted to Kampala in a chopper. It’s not clear whether the MP who campaigned for Mr Kassiano Wadri, the eventual winner of the Arua Municipality by-election, has been taken to hospital or a military prison.
He, however, said they agreed with Gen Gutti to ensure that Mr Kyagulanyi gets immediate medical attention and is granted unlimited access to his lawyers and relatives.
Wife breaks down
Ms Barbara Itungo, the wife of Mr Kyagulanyi broke down when her husband’s lawyers narrated how he was tortured.
“As a wife and a mother, I feel my patience is being tested so much. Government should let me have access to my husband. I am concerned about his state because I understand he was beaten by the soldiers,” she said.
Members of Kyadondo East Member of Parliament (MP) Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine’s family and legal team have been denied access to the lawmaker who was scheduled to appear at Gulu Military Barracks on Thursday morning.
Bobi Wine is expected to answer treason-related charges before the court martial designated to sit at the barracks.
Lawyers representing Bobi Wine said they were denied access to their client.
Member of Parliament/lawyer Asuman Basalirwa said that the soldiers inside refused to confirm whether or not the MP was in the barracks.
“The officers here are non-committed on whether or not the Bobi Wine is here or not,” he said.
Basalirwa says they were however, reassured that the army court will sit today to hear the case.
“What’s clear is that we were denied access to speak to him. The communication of the barracks is confusing. They told us he was brought here for treatment and was taken back to Arua, but at the same time they say the court martial is sitting. There is concealment of information.”
Earlier in the day, lawyers Luluma and Benjamin Katana had told the media in Gulu that their client was going to be arraigned in Kampala as opposed to the 4th Division army barracks where he had been detained.
“We are so frustrated with the way the army is handling our client. We are being tossed left and right on his whereabouts,” Mr Luluma said in an interview.
Former Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza while speaking to press at the Gulu Magistrates Court also confirmed that lawyers, MPs, and the family of Bobi Wine were denied access to the MP.
“The lawyers went inside the barracks, the army seemed non-committed. At some point they said Kyagulanyi has been moved to Arua but at the same time they wanted us to believe he was inside the barracks. We demand that they tell us where he is,” she said.
FDC MPs released
Meanwhile four MPS belonging to the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party have been released from detention according to fellow FDC member Ingrid Turinawe.
Ms Turinawe announced the release on social media early Thursday afternoon.
“We have successfully secured the release of our FDC colleagues who were arrested by military in Arua yesterday. Hon. Munyagwa Mubarrack, Lukwago Musa, Muhamad Mutazindwa were picked from Kenya Parish as they supervised elections while Haji Sowedi Wanyama was picked from Destiny courts. They had been detained at Arua airstrip military barracks. Arua wasn't only an election campaign but it was a fight which we did not know how it was going to end. Prayers to members of Kasiano Wadri team who are still in detention and those who are hospitalized,” Ms Turinawe wrote.