KAMPALA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY:The High Court in Kampala has rejected an application seeking urgent hearing of a case challenging torture of suspects who are on remanded over the attempted murder of General Katumba Wamala.
The head of High Court Civil Division Justice Musa Ssekaana has rejected the application filed by Wameli and Company Advocates on grounds that he was not satisfied that it requires urgency to the extent that it should be heard during the lockdown.
Instead, Ssekaana has advised the lawyers to first write to the prisons authorities informing them how they would like to take their medical experts to prison to examine torture and failure to succeed, that is when they should return to court.
He reasoned that the maximum time for such cases is within ten years adding that not everyone whose rights have been infringed on during the lockdown requires a certificate of urgency to be heard during this time.
The dismissed application for certificate of urgency was filed on Thursday, minutes after filing an application in which the lawyers wanted the court to order for compensation and immediate release of eight suspects charged with the double murder of Brenda Nantongo Katumba, the daughter of Katumba Wamala and his driver Haruna Kayondo.
The eight are: Sheikh Yusuf Siraji Nyanzi, Hussein Sserubula, Muhammad Kagugube, Kamada Walusimbi, Siriman Ayuub Kisambira, Abdulaziz Ramathan Dunku, Habib Ramanthan Marjan and Huzaifa Wampa.
The lawyers however wanted court to compensate and set them free on grounds of having been tortured in state custody between June 24th and July 2nd 2021, when they were under arrest.
“At arrest and during their detention, the applicants suffered torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, particularly serious physical injury, trauma, embarrassment, mental and emotional stress in the hands of the respondents and their agents, servants or persons acting under their command and thus the applicants require urgent medical treatment and rehabilitation,” reads the application in part.
The lawyers wanted the case to be heard during the lockdown and torture examined by medical experts when the wounds are still fresh instead of delaying and they become scars.
The Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo suspended hearing of cases due to COVID-19 for 42 days and ordered that only urgent matters were to be heard during this time.
Since then, lawyers who think that their cases are very urgent have been filing applications to certify their cases, but Justice Ssekaana today wasn’t convinced that the Wameli case was one that needed to be heard urgently, hence the rejection.
Addressing the media after court, the suspects’ lawyers led by Anthony Wameli revealed that they will do as advised by the Judge in the application which was heard ex parte.
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