Top Lawyer Nicholas Opio to spend the entire festive season in prison

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Human rights lawyer Nicholas Opio will spend his Christmas in Kitalya prison where he has been remanded on money laundering charges. He appeared this morning before the Nakawa Chief Magistrate, Dr. Douglas Singiza who read for him the charges of money laundering.

The magistrate didn’t allow Opio to plead to the charges, saying his court lacks jurisdiction over the matter. He therefore remanded Opio to Kitalya prison until December 28, 2020. The Judiciary spokesperson, Solomon Muyita says Opio’s file has been forwarded to the Registrar for onward transmission to the Anti-Corruption Court, which has jurisdiction over the matter.

Prosecution alleges that on October 8, 2020, at ABSA Bank Garden City Branch in Kampala, Opio’s organization Chapter Four Uganda where he is the Executive Director received US$ 340,000 (over Shillings 1.2 billion) through account number 6004078045 well knowing that the money in question was proceeds of crime.

Opio who is a renowned critic of government over human rights violations was picked up by plain-clothed operatives on Tuesday from Lamaro Restaurant in Kamokya, a Kampala suburb where he was having lunch with his colleagues. He was taken to the Police Special Investigations Department headquarters in Kireka together with four other human rights defenders.

They include, Simon Peter Esomu, Anthony Odur, Herbert Dakasi and Hamidu Tenywa who are still in police custody according to human rights lawyer, Eron Kiiza who is trying to secure their release on bond.

It is also alleged at the time their arrest, Opio and his colleagues were strategizing to investigate the circumstances under which more than 50 people lost their lives during the November protests triggered by the arrest of the National Unity Platform presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.

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