High Court Judge Esta Nambayo has dismissed an application which was filed by 36 National Unity Platform (NUP) members challenging their trial in the General Court Martial yet they are civilians.
Among these applicants was Hon Robert Kyagulanyi’s singing partner Ali Bukeni aka Nubian Li and personal body guard Eddy Sebuufu aka Eddy Mutwe.
These had asked court to order for their release from Kitalya and Kigo Prison on grounds that during and after their arrest several of their constitutional rights were violated.
They told court that they were detained for more than 48 hours without being produced in courts of law, were detained in ungazzeted places, denied access to their family, lawyers and Doctors and were charged in absence of their lawyers.
In her ruling, the judge said the applicants failed to prove their allegations with evidence in court
On torture allegations, she said there was no medical report brought in court apart from the allegations made by some of the relatives of the applicants.
“I find that the evidence produced was not enough to sustain the allegation of torture.”
On being charged before the General Court Martial, the judge said ruled that the charges against them are “unlawful possession of ammunition” which is provided for under the regulations governing army court.
“Charging them before GCM is with in the law but what has to be established is whether they committed the offence and that’s not the duty of High Court but the Court Martial.”
On being detained non gazzeted places for civilians i.e Kasajagirwa and Makindye barracks , court ruled that ACP Abaine Enock the RPC for Masaka in his affidavit gave sufficient reason for the said action .
He told court that Masaka Central Police Station (CPS) cells could not hold more than 85 suspects and as such, he took 14 to Kasajagirwa which is manned by the sister security agencies.
He went further and said that when time for charging them came , they were all taken to Masaka Chief Magistrate court for plea taking.
“The applicants counsels didn’t produce any evidence to prove that Kasajagirwa was not a gazetted facility. Being not a police cell doesnt mean that its not gazzetted.”
On being detained for more than 48 hours , court has ruled that this was properly justified by RPC who stated these were arrested on 30th December 2020 and the following day was a public holiday which was followed by a weekend thus making 4th January 2021 the closest working day
The applicants had complained before court that they were denied access to the lawyers from the period of their arrest up to being charged before the General court martial but court basing on the evidence from GCM has overuled them
The evidence was that all the accused persons during plea taking were informed of getting legal representatives and mentioned names of their lawyers who were later contacted .
Record was produced before Court that through their own lawyers, the accused persons applied to be released on bail.
The group was arrested in Kalangala last year during Presidential campaigns and charged with engaging in acts likely to lead to the spread of Covid 19 before Masaka Chief Magistrates court and later charged before General Court martial for unlawful possession of bullets.
The applicants before the High court included Kenny Kyalimpa, Hssan Ssemakula alias Abdu Solider, Robinson Mudde Ntambi, Lukeman Mwijjukye alias Kampala, William Nyanzi alias Mboggo, Muhammad Nsubuga alias Edobozi, Ali Buken alias Nubian Li, Edward Ssebufu alias Eddie Mutwe, Adam Matovu, Shakira Namboozo alias Suki, Ibra Tamale, Muzafalu Mwanga alias Main Gate Muwa, Stanley Kafuko alias Kysta, Achileo Kivumbi, Geoffrey Onzima alias Tower, Anthony Agaba alias Bobi Young, Robert Kivumbi alias Mighty Family, Samson Ssebiranda alias Giant, Sharif Najja alias Don Sharif and Brain Ssemanda alias Dictator Museveni must go and others