Prisons Ordered to Produce Kaweesi Murder Suspects in Court

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The accused persons talking to their lawyer.The International Crimes Division of the High Court has ordered the Uganda Prisons Services to produce two suspects in the murder of former Police Spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi.    

Kaweesi was shot dead alongside his bodyguard Kenneth Erau and driver Godfrey Mambewa on March 17, 2017, in Kulambiro in Nakawa Division in Kampala District.

Eight people were arrested and charged with the murder and later granted bail. But two suspects Abdul Rashid Mbaziira and Aramathan Noordin Higenyi were kept in Luzira prison on other charges of child trafficking. 

The prosecution alleges that the duo and others still at large between 2016 and March 19th, 2017 in Busia District transported, transferred six minors and hid them in Mukono District for exploitation.

The minors three of them were aged three including one girl, while others were boys aged eight and 11 years.

The six who were granted bail on Kaweesi murder file are  Bruhan Balyejusa, Shafiq Kasujja, Yusuf Nyanzi, Jibril Kalyango, Joshua Kyambadde and Yusuf Mugerwa.

These have all appeared before the International Crimes Division Judge Duncan Gaswaga for mentioning their case.

But both parties including the State which was being represented by the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Lino Anguzu and the Defense which was represented by Kwemara Kafuuzi and Geoffrey Turyamusiima; informed court that they were through with sharing the evidence they intend to rely on during the trial.

The evidence includes the car where the trio was shot dead, the cartridges recovered from the scene of the crime, the motorcycles purportedly used to execute the mission among others. 

Anguzu added that there is only one crucial document he didn’t reveal which he has yet not shared with the defense but was going to photocopy and share it before the end of the day.

Court further heard that the two accused persons Higenyi and Mbaziira were absent after the prison authorities were served with their production warrant when it was late.

Turyamusiima said that the two accused persons who were in Luzira prison objected to being tried via video conferencing.

According to Turyamusiima, this is on grounds of hearing difficulties because of the alleged human rights violations they experienced during the process of their arrest which has since caused them hearing impairments.

He also adds that this being a criminal trial, the laws are very clear that the accused must be tried while appearing physically in court.

Court also heard that there was an application objecting to the trial on grounds of torture and gross human rights violations which were filed in 2020 for six of the eight accused persons save for those in prison who wanted to appear in court physically.

Justice Gaswaga has now ordered the prisons to have Mbaziira and Higenyi produced in court physically starting May 10th to 14th 2021 for the pre-trial hearing to commence.

 The Judiciary previously introduced the system of conducting cases via video conferencing to embrace technology and cut on expenses of transporting people from prison every time they are required to appear in court.

But following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Judiciary also started conducting sessions of all the accused persons in prison via this technology to avoid further spread of the virus.

The eight accused persons are part of more than 50 people who were picked from various districts in the country following Kaweesi murder and were charged with murder, aggravated robbery and terrorism charges.

However, only 23 suspects were produced in court including the eight who were committed to face trial by Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court.

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