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Terrorism: jailed NUP supporters seek bail from High court

The nine suspects in court

The nine suspects in court

Nine supporters of the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) facing terrorism charges have sought bail in the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High court.

The suspects; Hamidu Muyobi, Abdallah Katumba, Muhamod Kalyango, Male Sulaiman Kyewalabye, Wilber Kairugara, Umar Magara, Abdu Katumba, Issa Makumbi and Hamidu Ssekide on Monday they appeared before lady justice Alice Komuhangi Khauka through their lawyers Nalukola Luyimbazi, Ssuna Zakaria and Jonathan Erotu.  

Records before the court indicate that on May 31, 2023, the applicants were charged with offences related to terrorism and arraigned before the Chief Magistrate's court in Nabweru before they were remanded to Luzira Prison to date. They say that on February 9, 2024, the charge sheet was amended to add Salim Ssekabembe and Rashid Ssebagala alias Professor and remove Resty Birungi Nabbosa and Faridah Masaba from the charge sheet.

They told court that they have a fixed place of abode in Uganda and they are willing to abide by any bail conditions that may be imposed upon them by the court. They are entitled to mandatory bail and have spent almost a year in prison. By the time the accused persons filed this case, they were not yet committed to the High court for trial and argued that it's not clear when they would be tried.  

They informed the court that they have substantial sureties willing to stand for them and will be produced at the hearing of the court. But Magala filed a separate application in which he states that he has a constitutional right to apply for bail and that the offence he is charged with is bailable before the court.

He said he has a permanent place of residence at Kakungulu Zone 1 Parish, Kawempe Division Kampala district. He said he is a teacher by progression and headteacher at Abdul Waheed High School, is married with children and is the sole breadwinner for his family. According to Magala, he was informed by his lawyers that upon the expiry of the six months since charge and remand at Luzira Prison, he is entitled to mandatory bail in line with the constitutional provisions. 

"That once released on bail, I will attend court whenever called upon and that I will not abscond. That I am ready and willing to fully attend the trial and undertake to comply with the terms and conditions for the grant of bail," reads Magala's affidavit.  

The applicants argue jointly that their trial is most likely to take longer and therefore, they should be released on bail. However, when the parties met before the Judge, she advised that the status of the case had since changed. By the time the accused persons applied for bail, they had not yet been committed to the High court for trial.

Justice Komuhangi informed the lawyers that when a person is already committed for trial, they cannot plead the ground to be released on mandatory bail. But the prosecution’s chief state attorney, Richard Birivumbuka said one of the applicants Umaru Magala is also an applicant in application number seven. Birivumbuka said the two applications were premised on the same facts and were seeking the same remedy of bail.  

He said, however, in this one, there was one applicant, and in the other, there were several applicants.

“We thought this was duplication of work and backlog that would easily be avoided by merging the same applications. It's our prayer therefore that you can invoke section 17(2) of the Judicature Act and have the applications consolidated. We do appreciate that the consolidation is by way of a formal application by way of notice of motion supported by affidavits. There are a lot of disputes. The court should wave section 17(2) of the Judicature Act invoked,” said Birivumbuka.

In response, lawyer Nalukoola said that his learned brother Birivumbuka had preempted his submissions and that he had no reason to object to the application for consolidation. However, he requested more time to see whether to consolidate or not. The judge then further remanded the accused persons until June 4, 2024, as the lawyers discussed how to proceed with the matter.

The prosecution alleges that on May 7, 2023, in Nabweru North Zone, Nansana Municipality, the accused persons committed acts of terrorism by purchasing and manufacturing improvised explosive devices (petrol bombs) without regard for the safety of others. The purpose of these acts was to intimidate the public or influence the government for political, social, religious, or economic gain.


0 #1 Marc Mae 2024-05-26 02:39
This is news to me, Apart from the so called ADF terrorists,

I did not know that there also others (Ugandans). We are always learning.
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0 #2 kabayekka 2024-05-27 11:03
Indeed in history, terrorism for Uganda seems to have originated from the Kingdom state of Buganda.

That is where even with this current government the Ganda terrorism antagonised and removed Obote I, Idi Amin, and Obote II and the Okello long ruling regimes. Regimes that do not want to leave state power.

Most probably that is why in the current constitution, it is clearly stated that it is a human right to go for armed struggle if any ruling regime embarks to disorganize human rights of the citizens of this country!
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0 #3 Lakwena 2024-05-27 11:05
Quoting Marc Mae:
This is news to me, Apart from the so called ADF terrorists,

I did not know that there also others (Ugandans). We are always learning.

Marc Mae, although the ADF Kingpin, Jamil Mukulu was arrested in Tanzania and extradited to Uganda in June 2015; have you ever wondered why 9 years and counting, the man has never appeared before any Military and/or Civil Court?

In other words, what did Justice Chibita do in his term of office DPP. And what is DPP, Justice Frances Abodo doing, and/or who decides, which terrorist/criminal the DPP should prosecute?
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0 #4 kabayekka 2024-05-27 11:07
One reckons these brutal African courts know all about universal human rights in this country. Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status.

Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.
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