What you need to know:
- On October 11, 2022, the Court Martial chairperson, Brig Robert Freeman Mugabe, dismissed the detainees’ bail application which had been filed nine months prior.
The president of the National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED) party, Mr Joseph Kabuleta, has petitioned the High Court in Kampala seeking the release of 32 prisoners, citing illegal detention at Kitalya prison.
The group, who are mainly supporters of the National Unity Platform (NUP) party, was arrested between November 2020 and May 2021 and charged with possession of ammunition ordinarily the monopoly of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) by the General Court Martial.
In his December 21, 2022 petition, Mr Kabuleta contends that the “prisoners of conscience” have spent more than 90 days on remand without trial, and are, therefore, entitled to mandatory bail.
“That after August 14, 2021 (i.e. 90 days from the date of arrest) without being tried, the detainees were entitled to be freed by the operation of the law under Section 190 (3) of the UPDF Act, 2005,” the petition read in part.
It added: “The detainees were neither released on mandatory bail on August 9, 2021 nor freed under Section 190 (3) on August 14, 2021 and have instead remained in custody till to dat."
Mr Kabuleta further said he has since discovered gross human rights violations against the group.
“...If the detainees were UPDF soldiers or officers, they ought to have been freed by their commanding officer under Section 190 (3) of the UPDF Act, 2005 on August 14, 2021, being expiry of 90 days from the date of arrest,” Mr Kabuleta stated. While addressing a press conference yesterday, Mr Kabuleta said the law has to be followed even by the government.
Justice Emmanuel Baguma set the hearing of the petition for Friday.
The detainees were allegedly found in possession of 13 pieces of explosive devices and arrested on suspicion of planning to use petrol bombs on government vehicles and buildings ahead of President Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony in May 2021.
On October 11, 2022, the Court Martial chairperson, Brig Robert Freeman Mugabe, dismissed the detainees’ bail application which had been filed nine months prior.
The prisoners include Rashid Ssegujja, Yasin Ssekitoleko, Robert Christopher Rugumayo, Ronald Mayiga, Patrick Mwase, Simon Kijambo, Abdu Matovu, Richard Nyombi, Olivia Lutaaya, Ronald Kijambo, Sharif Kalanzi, Joseph Muwonge, Mesach Kiwanuka, Abdalla Kintu, Umar Emma Kato and Musa Kavuma.
Others are Ibrahim Wandera, Asbert Nagwere, Steven Musakulu, Jimmy Galukande, Paul Muwanguzi, Kenneth Kamanye, Sharif Matovu, Shafiq Ngobi, Davis Mafabi, Abdallah Hakim Gibusiwa, Livingstone Katushabe Kigozi, Obalai Siraji Mudebo, Joseph Muganza and Stanley Lwanga.