I've received death threats, State prosecutor in Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana case tells court

State prosecutor Mr Richard Birivumbuka (L) interacts with the defense counsel in the case, Shamim Malende on January 19, 2022. PHOTO/MALIK FAHAD JJINGO

What you need to know:

  • Responding to Mr Birivumbuka’s complaint, the accused MPs “advised him to report to police as they can't establish whether the claims are true or false since they are imprisoned.”

The state prosecutor in a murder case against two opposition MPs has told court that he and his family have been receiving death threats.

“I am under threats together with my family from supporters of the legislators Mr Muhammad Ssegirinya (Kawempe North) and Mr Allan Ssewanyana in prison,” he claimed adding that, “I am not politicking but simply doing my job as a prosecutor.”

However, Mr Birivumbuka did not explain the nature of threats.

“The threats that I shall go like the late Joan Kagezi [senior principal state attorney] should stop with immediate effect” he remarked.  

Mr Birivumbuka also told court that although the case of the detained MPs was up for further mention, investigations into the matter were still incomplete as he asked the presiding Masaka Grade One Magistrate Mr Phillip Nzwebe to adjourn court.

Responding to Mr Birivumbuka’s complaint, the accused MPs advised him to report to police as they can't establish whether the claims are true or false since they are imprisoned.

Mr Nzwebe encouraged Mr Birivumbuka to seek extra security if the death threats are real.

On Wednesday, Mr Ssewanyana expressed concern over what he described as persistent torture in Kigo Prison.  

“I request court to grant that we are transferred to any other prison, even if it’s at the Ugandan border. We want to reach the day of our judgement alive- before we consider committing suicide or die from Kigo Prison due to torture,” the Makindye West MP said.

Mr Nzwebe ordered the prison authorities “to desist from abusing the rights of the two legislators” warning that “no one is above the law.”

The accused legislators facing seven charges of murder, attempted murder, terrorism and abetting terrorism followed proceedings via Zoom technology from Kigo Prison in Wakiso District.

The magistrate also directed the State to expedite investigations so that the accused legislators can be committed to the High Court for trial as court was adjourned to February 2, 2022 for further mention.

Allegations

The State alleges that the two legislators together with other suspects, some on remand and others still at large, between July and August 2021 took part in the brutal killing of 26 people in Masaka Sub-region. They are also accused of funding the killings.

Court records show that on August, 2, 2021, the two MPs allegedly killed Joseph Bwanika, a resident of Kisekka B Village in Kisekka Sub County in Lwengo District.

Prosecution also alleges that on August 23 at Ssettaala Village in Masaka City, the MPs and their co-accused persons killed Francis Mugerwa Kiiza aka Nswa, Sulaiman Kakooza and Tadeo Kiyimba.

The MPs are also accused of attempting to kill Ronald Ssebyoto, a resident of the same area. On the first charges, the accused were early last month committed to high court and await trial.

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