Kampala. Thirty-five supporters of the National Unity Platform -NUP currently facing trial in the General Court Martial have applied for bail for the fourth time since they were arrested on December 30, 2020.
The supporters are: Ali Bukeni alias Nubian Li, Edward Ssebuufu alias Eddie Mutwe, Hassan Ssemakula alias Abdul Souldier, Kenny Kyalimpa , Mudde Ntambi, William Nyanzi alias Mbogo, Lukeman Mwijukye alias Kampala, Muhammad Nsubuga alias Eddoboozi , Adam Matovu, Shakirah Nambozo alias Sukie, Ibrahim Tamale, Muzafuru Mwanje alias Main Gate alias Muwa, Ismail Nyanzi Kaddu, Achileo Kivumbi, Joseph Onzima alias Tawa, Anthony Agaba alias Bobi Young and Robert Kivumbi alias Mighty Family.
The others are Samson Ssekiranda alias Giant, Sharifa Najja alias Don Sharifa , Brian Ssemanda alias Director Museveni Must Go, Robert Katumba, Faisol Kigongo alias Ras Fazo , Musa Mulimira, Sam Mutumba alias Papa Sam , Richard Kalema alias Ricardo, Alex Karamagi alias Doggy City, Daniel Onywerot alias Dan Magic , Hussein Mukasa alias OShea, Johnbosco Sunday alias JB, Isma Muganga alias Jaja Isma, Fahad Tamale and Bashir Murusha.
The group is part of the 49 people arrested from Kalangala district four months ago soon after landing on the islands to campaign for the NUP Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.
They were accordingly taken to Masaka Magistrates Court on January 4 2021 where they were charged with inciting violence and later granted bail.
But they didn’t leave prisons after the Uganda Prisons Services said that they had received a production warrant to take them to the Makindye based General Court Martial.
On January 8 2021, the group comprising men and women was charged with illegal possession of ammunition namely four bullets before being remanded to Kitalya and Kigo government’s prison.
Days later, they applied for bail but on February 15 2021, the court presided over by Lt General Andrew Gutti denied them bail and instead released 13 of their co accused.
Gutti said that he was denying them bail on grounds that an Investigating Officer Assistant Inspector of Police Peter Wetaaka had opposed to their bail application and argued that if they are released, the acts of violence are most likely to continue.
But on March 1st 2021, the group filed a third application for bail before the High Court Criminal Division pleading their constitutional right to bail, having substantial sureties, being innocent and need to look after their families among others.
However, on March 3rd 2021, the group was denied audience by Festo Nsenga the Deputy Registrar for High Court Criminal Division on grounds that a court trying someone is well placed to handle a bail application since it’s well conversant with the facts of the case thus this new fourth application.
In the latest application dated April 9th 2021 drafted by Wameli and Company Advocates and received by the Secretary to the General Court Martial Major John Bizimana , the applicants note that the allegations made by Wetaaka in his affidavit were not true. Their argument is that the applicants have never and do not intend to mete out any violence against anybody let alone the security officers.
Through their lawyers the applicants argue that when Court martial denied them bail in February, the court directed the prosecution to fast track the case such that it can be fixed for hearing.
But to date, the case has not been fixed for hearing and there is no known date when the hearing can take off yet the applicants have been in detention without trial close to 90 days now.
According to the lawyers, the charges against their clients are bailable and the court martial has the jurisdiction and discretion to give them bail pending the determination of the main case.
They also argue that they will not abscond from the jurisdiction of court if released adding that they have fixed places of residence as well as substantial sureties.
“The applicants will not and do not have any intentions nor the capacity to interfere with the investigations of prosecution witnesses in this matter”, reads the petition in part.
Their lawyers led by Anthony Wameli have said that in the interest of justice the application should be allowed. The matter is yet to be fixed for hearing.
Of recent, dozens of supporters of National Unity Platform have taken to streets to demand for the unconditional release of all political prisoners since the elections are over.
But some of those who demanded for the release have equally been arrested and sent to various prisons for inciting violence. They include Rubaga North Councilor Elect James Mubiru, and Kawempe North MP Elect Muhammad Ssegirinya.
The application is about to be fixed for hearing.
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