Katumba attack: Court okays hearing of suspects’ case

Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj Gen Paul Lokech displays a photo of one of the suspects in the attempted assassination of Gen Katumba Wamala. PHORO/DAVID LUBOWA 

The High Court in Kampala yesterday granted a certificate of urgency that will enable it hear an application, in this Covid-19 lockdown period, in which eight men  who are being held in incommunicado over attempted murder of Works minister, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, are seeking release.

The certificate of urgency was necessary because late last month, Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo suspended all court hearings except urgent matters in a bid to avert the surging Covid-19 infections.

“I have carefully considered the application, the affidavit in support and the law. I am of the view that indeed this miscellaneous application number 107 of 2021 is urgent in nature, since under the bill of rights, particularly Article 23 of the Constitution, provides for liberties of persons in this country,” Justice Phillip Odoki ruled.

He added: “Where a person is arrested on suspicion of commission of an offence and is not earlier released, he / she should be brought to court as soon as possible in any case, not more than 48 hours. Therefore, if miscellaneous application 107 of 2021, is not heard, the constitutional liberties of the applicants will continue being violated, I will, therefore, grant this application.”

Hearing of the application
Subsequently, Justice Odoki set Monday next week to hear the application of the eight men challenging their continued detention. The suspects have been detained for two weeks.
The grant of the certificate of urgency, followed an application filed on Monday by lawyers from Wameli & Co. Advocates.
The lawyers are seeking the immediate release of their clients, arguing that they have been held in incommunicado beyond the recognised 48 constitutional hours.

Those allegedly held are listed as Kamada Walusimbi, alias Mudinka; Muhammed Kagugube, alias Bafumoya; Siriman Kisambira, alias Mukwasi; Hussein Wahab Lubwama, alias Christopher Kinene, alias Master; Mustafa Kawawa Ramadan, alias Musa, alias Amin; Juma Saidi, Serwadda Idris, alias Swakibu, alias Juma and Taata Umar. 
However, Kinene was shot dead by the police during his arrest last week, while Amin was  also shot dead at the weekend as he  allegedly attempted to run away from security  operatives as he was being escorted back to the crime scene for reconstruction.

The Attorney General, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Commandant of  Special Investigations Directorate, Kireka, and the chief of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, are listed as the respondents.
In his affidavit to support the application on Monday, lawyer Francis Nyakoojo stated that on various dates in the month of June and July, the aforementioned detained persons, while at their respective homes in Kawanda, Maganjo, Muyenga and Namuwongo, were arrested by plain- clothed security personnel.