Prison officer contradicts self over location of jailed Israeli murder suspect

Wated 's lawyer Isaac Ayebazibwe and state prosecutor Joy Apolot during the September 19 court session in Mpigi Grade One magistate Ezra Okem 's chambers. PHOTO/BRIAN ADAMS KESIIME 

What you need to know:

  • Let her [Atim] write to us clearly explaining why they   still have the suspect so that  court can be able to issue  a production warrant to the right prison facility holding him

Drama ensued before Mpigi Grade One Magistrate Ezra Solomon Okem on September 19 after a  prison officer contradicted herself  over the location of an Israeli national Raed Wated, a man accused of killing his wife, Ms Monica Nabukenya .

It all started when Mr Okem asked Ms Jennifer Atim ,the principal officer of Kigo Prison on  where Wated is currently remanded.

At first ,Ms Atim told court that the suspect is at Luzira Prison where he was transferred on orders of Mr Okem on August 29 2023. Mr Okem sanctioned Wated’s transfer to Luzira after he complained that his life was at risk at Kigo since he cannot receive necessary medical attention yet he is battling hernia. 

But during the Tuesday session Wated’s lawyer, Mr  Isaac Ayebazibwe interjected ,saying his client is still at Kigo, prompting Ms Atim to change her statement  and told court that they (Kigo Prison)  still have the suspect.

"I want to tell you [Atim] that court ordered for his [Wated] transfer to Luzira  on August ,29 2023 ,but since then ,I  have been following up this matter, but nothing has been done. Still to my dismay , my client has not been brought to court today, "Mr Ayebazibwe told court.

Ms Joy Apolot, the state prosecutor, also  asked Ms Atim  to make a clear statement  informing court why they are still holding Wated at Kigo.

"Let her [Atim] write to us clearly explaining why they   still have the suspect so that  court can be able to issue  a production warrant to the right prison facility holding him ." she said

When pressed further to explain why  they still have the suspect at Kigo when court ordered for his transfer to Luzira, Ms Atim she said they have good medics to handle Wated’s medical condition .

“Your worship, there is no reason for transferring him to Luzira  since he can still get the same treatment while  at Kigo,”she said

Mr Okem  asked Ms Atim who represented the officer  in charge of Kigo Prison  to organise a meeting between the inmate and his lawyer before October 3  when Wated is expected to reappear in court for mention of his case .  Wated is facing murder charges.

"Please make sure you sit and talk with the  inmate's lawyer so that you can have balanced position on this ," he said

In a letter dated August 31, Mr Ayebazibwe told the  Commissioner General of Prison Services, Mr Johnson Byabashaija that some of his officers were present in court when the magistrate issued the order and wondered why they were reluctant to enforce it .

“We regret to note that despite your officers’ knowledge of the said Order which would have enabled our client to access immediate medical attention, the apparent intentional or negligent delay of his transfer has caused him [Wated] more pain. That could eventually have irreversible side effects on his health,” the letter reads in part.

"The purpose of this correspondence is to request that you [Commissioner General of Prison] prevail over the said officers and cause the immediate transfer of our client in accordance thereof.” it adds

It is not clear why Kigo Prison authorities want Wated to remain in their cells instead of transferring him to Luzira Prison as ordered by court.