Several supporters, private security guards and campaign team members of the National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi are still detained four days after the Court granted them bail.
The suspects who included, Bobi Wine’s singing partner, Ali Bukeni alias Nubian Li, and Eddy Ssebufu aka Eddie Mutwe (Bobi Wine’s personal bodyguard, appeared before two separate courts- Masaka Chief Magistrate Charles Yeteise and Masaka Grade One Magistrate Grace Wakholi- on Monday.
Prosecution led by Jacob Nahurira alleges that on December 30, 2020, at Kibale Village, Bugoye Sub County, Kalangala District, the accused persons incited violence and also did a negligent act likely to spread an infectious disease.
However, all the 126 accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At least 100 of them who presented substantial sureties were granted bail after paying Shs100, 000 cash each while others who failed to get sureties were remanded until January 19.
By press time Thursday morning, lawyers led by Mr Majellan Kazibwe were still struggling to secure release of those cleared on Monday from Masaka Ssaza Prison.
He said his clients’ rights had grossly been violated as they were earlier detained in both police and military custody beyond the 48-hour detention rule and now delayed in Prison over unknown reasons.
“We have made several attempts since Monday to have them released in vain. It is the armed security personnel manning the prison facility and they refused to honor all the court orders presented to them,” he said.
“Though the good news is that we have finally agreed that they present them to court tomorrow (Thursday) to see the way forward,” he said.
Judiciary played its part
When contacted, Mr Solomon Muyita, the Judiciary spokesperson said court played its role and issued release orders to all the suspects who were granted bail and wondered why the prison authorities are still holding them.
“They [accused persons] paid for bail and we issued release orders. When the orders were taken to prison, the people they found there said we should issue a production warrant so that they can be released in court and when they took the production warrant to them, they again did not present the accused persons. So, the best person to give answers are the prisons authorities because for us we did our part,” he added.
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However, Uganda Prisons Service Spokesperson Frank Baine could not comment on the matter as our repeated phone calls to his known phone number went unanswered.
However, the bail application for Eddie Mutwe, Stanley Kafuko, Hassan Katumba and Lookman Kampala Mumwikye was deferred on Monday as the magistrate explained that court time had elapsed and they were also remanded and expected to report on January 19, 2021.
They are facing six fresh charges of malicious damage to property and assault of police officers on duty, among others, allegedly committed last month when Mr Kyagulanyi campaigned in Kyotera District. They are expected to appear in Kyotera Magistrate Court.
During the Monday court session, some of the supporters, who were seen limping, told the magistrate that they had been tortured while in police and army detention centres.
Displaying head injuries in court, Mwinjukye, a camera person attached to Mr Kyagulanyi’s campaign team said he was badly beaten and his private parts squeezed.
“I am in great pain after being badly beaten. My camera was also confiscated,” he said.
The suspects were arrested on December 30, 2020 in Kalangala District where Mr Kyagulanyi had scheduled campaign meetings which were blocked by security forces before Mr Kyagulanyi was airlifted back to Kampala in a military chopper.