Ssewanyana, Ssegirinya case suspended for a month

Jailed Opposition MPs Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) and Muhammad Ssegirinya in court recently. PHOTO/ FILE 

What you need to know:

  • Justice Alice Khaukha of the International Crimes Division of the High Court adjourned the matter until December 5

The High Court has suspended the hearing of a case in which seven people, among them two legislators, were jailed in connection to the Masaka killings last year.

The MPs; Mr Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) and Mr Muhammad Sseggirinya (Kawempe North) are facing charges of terrorism, murder and attempted murder and aiding and abetting terrorism.

Other suspects include Mike Sserwadda, Jude Muwonge, Bulo Wamala, John Mugera, and Jackson Kanyike.

Justice Alice Khaukha of the International Crimes Division of the High Court adjourned the matter until December 5.

The judge’s decision followed a request by the suspects’ lawyers to give them a month to reorganise themselves.

Ms Shamim Malende, one of the lawyers, told court that she was not ready to proceed with the matter citing refusal by the state to serve her firm with court documents.

“We are quite a number of lawyers in this case but each law firm was independently contracted to handle the matter. The only documents I got were from my learned friends by doing photocopies and taking photos of the documents. I pleaded with the state to serve me but it has failed,” she said.

Mr Calab Alaka, another lawyer for the accused, said they have never had private meetings with their clients because prisons officials allegedly violate the confidentiality rule.

“Whenever we go to speak to them about their constitutional petition challenging witness protection during the trial, the prison officers do not allow us space to speak freely,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kanyike asked the prosecution to transfer all witnesses against the two MPs to Kigo Prison just like he was.

He said he was arrested during the Covid-19-induced lockdown for not following curfew restrictions and ended up being charged with murder over the Masaka killings.

He added that he was told to testify against the two MPs and sent to Kigo prison.

In response, prosecution led by Mr Richard Birivumbuka said they do not determine decisions made in court.

During the previous session, court declined to refer the case to the Constitutional Court for legal interpretation in regard to witness protection.