illegal search: Court awards Nakasero Mosque UGX 50M over unlawful police raid in 2016

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By Kaweesa Hope Mulangira

The High court has directed government to compensate Nakasero Mosque administration , Jamiyyat Daawa Assalafiyyah Muslim Community Shs 50 million shillings for the violation of the applicants’ rights and all other Muslim faithfuls under Article 29 of the Uganda constitution. Whisper Eye Reports.

A court case was filed in 2017 by the two applicants as leaders of the Jamiyyat Daawa Assalafiyyah Muslim Community as security operatives led by police entered, searched and seized several documents and property from Nakasero Mosque, a place of worship for the Jamiyyat Daawa Assalafiyyah Muslim Community in Kampala city .

The applicant sought reliefs among which a declaration that the action of government security operatives of raiding, breaking into and ransacking Nakasero Mosque at dawn on 27th December 2016 with or without a search warrant was unlawful , unjustifiable, infringed or threatened to infringe on the applicant’s and other members of the Jamiyyat Daawa Assalafiyyah Muslim Community’s fundamental rights protected by Articles 21, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28(3)(a), 29(1)(c), 37 and 45 of the Constitution.

At the time of the incident the first applicant Kifampa Siraje was the pro of Jamiyyat Daawa Assalafiyyah Muslim Community and currently he is among those eyeing Lubaga South Mp seat come 2021 elections.

In today’s court ruling by Justice Ssekaana Musa observed that the action of the security operatives/police of raiding, breaking into and ransacking Nakasero Mosque at dawn of 27th December 2016 without a search warrant or warrant card was unlawful and illegal.

Justice Ssekaana Musa added that Uganda Police must return all items that were taken from Nakasero Mosque during the illegal and unlawful search to the mosque administration.(Jamiyyat Daawa Assalafiyyah Muslim Community).

Justice Ssekaana Musa also noted that , the applicant’s counsel sought fifty billions (50,000,000,000/=) as damages however on how counsel imagined such a huge amount without even laying any basis for such a claim.

It would appear that human rights cases have become commercial transactions/deals between lawyers and the victims of human rights violations, Justice Ssekana Musa added.

He went a head to award UGX 50,000,000 as sufficient and adequate compensation for the violation of the applicants’ rights and all other Muslim faithfuls under Article 29 of the constitution.

Justice Musa Ssekana emphasised that compensation shall be paid to Nakasero Mosque administration (Jamiyyat Daawa Assalafiyyah Muslim Community).

According to Justice Ssekana Musa government shall also meet the applicants legal fees that was used to successfully pursue this case against government.

The victorious applicant Sirajje Kifampi told Whisper Eye that he welcomed the court award saying at last justice has prevailed and that the same award should act as warning to security agencies that raid worshipping places in a degrading manner.

However he was discouraged at the amount of compensation awarded given the fact property worth millions of shillings was destroyed by the security forces.

Advocate Isaac Ssemakadde the executive director of Legal Brains Trust, a Kampala-based human rights and democracy watchdog acted as counsel for the Jamiyyat Daawa Assalafiyyah Muslim Community , He is a renowned top lawyer in Kampala who has won several cases against the government.