Suzan Magara murder suspects drop torture claims against state

Torture victims. Susan Magara murder suspects appear before Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court on September 4, 2018. PHOTO/MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

What you need to know:

  • This means that the state should proceed with the witnesses. 

On-trial suspects for the 2018 kidnap and murder of Susan Magara have dropped torture claims against state security agencies.

The nine suspects had accused the joint -task security teams involving police, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and the Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force (JATT) of inflicting torture on them at arrest and while extracting statements.

The suspects are Yususf Lubega, Hussein Wasswa, Muzamiru Ssali, Hajara Nakandi, Abubaker Kyewolwa, Mahad Kisalita, Hassan Kato Miiro, Ismail Bukenya and Musa Abbas Buvumbo.

Through their lawyer Richard Kumbuka, the suspects told court presided by Justice Alex Ajiji that they have now decided to withdraw the application in which they wanted court to stop their ongoing trial “due to failure to get the proper documents to support their claim.”

“The application was prematurely upheld. We seek to withdraw the same (application) on grounds that given the terms as last time we were in court and for reasons beyond our control, we are unable to proceed with the application as we have not yet secured the right documents for it.  We hereby withdraw the application,” Kumbuka pleaded.  

His submission prompted the trial judge to direct further hearing of prosecution evidence.

“So, the application is hereby withdrawn and the state should proceed with the witnesses. The accused persons are further remanded till November 20 and 21,” the judge said.

State Attorneys Irene Nakimbugwe and Joseph Kyomuhendo told court that police pathologist Dr Moses Byaruhanga will be the next prosecution witness.

Dr Byaruhanga will be witness number ten after CMI investigator Frank Nyakairu testified.

One of the suspects Lubega rebutted the evidence of Nyakairu, who previously testified that he (Lubega) had voluntarily confessed to the crime and gave inside information about his co-suspects.

“I will not get a fair hearing. Witness Nyakairu tortured me. He kicked me. I have pain in the chest and back. I can no longer lift something weighing 10kilograms. I was forced to confess in order to save my life,” Lubega claimed in court.

But as the suspects' lawyers presented the application, they asked the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) to provide them with the forms on which police surgeons examined them to be used as proof for their alleged torture.

Delivering his evidence accounts, Nyakairu revealed to court that Lubega told them that fugitive murder suspect Yakub Byensi masterminded the whole mission together with Hakim Lugolobi who secured the mobile lines used.

“The two fled and got lost in a forest in Katosi- where the suspects bought a big chunk of land using ransom paid to them by Magara’s family.”

The witness explained that detained Hajara Nakandi always kept guard of Magara, and also cut off the victim’s fingers which were sent to her family in a parcel- long before using her (Nakandi) car to transport and dump the body in Kitiko.

Nyakairu informed court that other suspects were mainly sent to spy and follow Magara's family members during the period when Byensi was asking for the ransom.

Prosecution states that the suspects in jail and others still at large on February 7, 2018 kidnapped the Bwedero Dairy Farm (BDF) cashier with intent to procure a ransom or benefit from her liberation from the danger of being murdered.