The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has come out to condemn the recent unlawful arrest of four murder suspects which occurred on Tuesday shortly after they had been granted bail. The lawyers’ body has said the arrests were a “blantant violation of rights” and demanded that the independence of the judiciary be protected.
Eight people suspected to have been involved in the murder of former Police Spokesperson AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi were on Tuesday arraigned before the Nakawa Magistrate’s Court and later released on bail. They had spent six months on remand in Luzira without being committed for trial.
The eight include; Umar Magada, Ahmed Ssenfuka, Hassan Tusiime, Ibrahim Kisa, Asuman Mugove, Abdul Hamid Magambo, Majid Ojegere and Musa Ntende.
However, shortly after they had left the court, unknown arms men who were dressed in plain clothes intercepted four of the released suspects and brutally rearrested them.
Video footage posted by SoftPower News on the same day showed the three men manhandling Ahmed Ssenfuka and dragging him into a private car against his will. One of the men who effected the arrest could be seen pointing a pistol at Ssenfuka while he struggled and screamed in protest.
To many people’s surprise however, neither Police nor the army has claimed responsibility for effecting the arrest, which has left most Ugandans in panic. Later on, the UPDF spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire confirmed to the New Vision that the army had arrested the four suspects following intelligence that they were members of Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), rebel outfit that territorised Western Uganda decades ago.
In response to Tuesday’s incident, Uganda Law Society has issued a statement that reads in part; “We find it unacceptable that these arrests were carried out without following due process and in violation of the rights of the accused persons by unidentified persons and unknown reasons.”
“It is also unacceptable that the arrests were conducted in a cruel, inhuman and/or degrading manner,” the statement added, citing Ahmed Ssenfuka.
Lawyers condemned “in the strongest terms possible this act of lawlessness” and have asked that security agencies review the incident “with a view of holding to account all the individuals involved”.
“We refuse to accept illegal actions that undermine the independence of the Judiciary and the rule of law in Uganda,” the statement authored by Francis Gimara the ULS President states.
They have demanded that government ensures that the rights of citizens are respected, and that the independence of the Judiciary is protected at all times.
ULS is working with lawyers of the accused persons to offer them legal support.
In the event that government fails to take action, the lawyers’ body has pledged to ensure that those who made arrests are positively identified and brought to justice.