High court judge Geoffrey Turyamusiima has declined to grant bail to the National Unity Platform party supporters who have languished in the dungeons of Kitalya for over 7 months.
Despite a recent landmark verdict nullifying trial of civilians in military courts, supporters of NUP remain on trial through the same institution dubbed the General Court Martial which according to the UPDF act of 2005 is supposed to try strictly soldiers and a few civilians found with military stores.
The NUP lawyers led by senior attorney Anthony Wameli were told to await the judicial reopening that is synonymous with the 42 day lockdown so they again file for bail. It should be recalled that at the start of the lockdown, the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo wrote to the public suspending all courtroom proceedings during the 42 day lockdown which expires on Friday July 30.
Citing the clause which says a case must be heard within 100 days after a suspect is remanded, counsel Wameli urged the judge to sanction the files of the suspects from the court martial. His worship Turyamusiima rejected saying if he complies other suspects will follow suit.
He added that the court is already stained with chunks of cases to handle and therefore they cannot grant special consideration to the NUP case.
Counsel Wameli protested the unfairness saying it shows how the judiciary is deliberately sabotaging all effors to have the accused released. “I do not agree with the learned judge. Why does he exhibit bias? He claims in case he heeds to our prayer, other suspects will follow suit. How does he pre-determine that?,” Wameli wonders.
The 74 NUP supporters are mainly on charges of possession of military stores especially those who were reportedly found with red berets designated as a military insignia. Some inmates like Mubiru James and Sserunkuuma John Bosco are elected leaders in their areas and have since been denied a chance to take oath.