Masaka Chief Magistrate Charles Yeteise issued criminal summons against the in-charge of Saaza Government Prison Henry Kidega for failing to produce more than 60 supporters of the National Unity platform before the court on Wednesday.
They were part of a group of NUP supporters who were arrested in the Kalangala district on charges of acting in a manner that is likely to spread infectious disease and inciting violence.
On the day of their arrest, the NUP presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu was scheduled to hold campaigns in the island district. But, he was also airlifted out of the islands to Kololo airstrip in Kampala and later driven to his home in Magere. More than 100 of his supporters were detained.
Alexander Lule, one of the lawyers representing the accused people told the court that most of the accused persons that were supposed to be presented to the court for official release, after a successful bail application, had not been produced even after fulfilling the bail conditions.
He asked the court to issue an arrest warrant against Kidega for contempt of court. This was based on his failure to honour a production warrant issued by the same court for the people who were under his custody.
Another lawyer Majeran Kazibwe told the court that they had information that the accused people were intercepted on their way to Masaka court from Saaza Prison and diverted to another route out of Masaka. Kazibwe also asked the court to issue criminal summons against the in-charge of Saaza Prison to explain the whereabouts of the accused people.
One of the prisons officers told the court that he had been given a group of 23 people to deliver to the court and not 60 as expected. However, he added, he was unable to answer questions related to the numbers and why they were not eventually produced in court.
The magistrate issued criminal summons against Kidega, to appear before the court on Monday, January 11, and explain the whereabouts of the accused persons that were not produced before the court.
Magistrate Yeteise also ordered for the immediate release of over 46 National Unity Platform supporters that had fulfilled the bail conditions ordering them to reaper before the court on January 19, 2021, for further hearing of the case.