Arua Municipality MP Kassiano Wadri is the only legislator among the 27 suspects that showed up for the mention of the treason charge at Gulu Magistrate Court. The other MPs including Gerald Karuhanga, Michael Mabikke, Paul Mwiru, Robert Kyagulanyi absconded.
Prosecution led by Deus Kyomya, also informed court that investigations are still ongoing, so more time was needed forcing Court presided by the Chief Magistrate Yunus Ndiwalana to adjourn the matter to October 1st.
According to Tony Kitara, the lawyer representing the 32 suspects, some of them were a no show due to mix up in the date of appearance in their court documents.
Counsel Kitara argued that although the mistakes is not fatal to the case, they intend to petition the constitutional court to halt the trial of the suspects on accounts of gross violations of the rights of the suspects during their arrests and trial.
“It has no bearing, it has been cleared that they appear on 1st October. We are considering filing a suit in the constitutional court, because the court earlier in the case of Kiiza Besigye in 2007 pronounced itself that it cannot sanction continued trial of an accused person where during 9investigations, arrests and trial, the rights of the accused person were grossly violated. And this is the very case, so we are considering that, we are working on our papers” Kitara said.
The lawyer further explained that High court had ordered the suspects to appear before Chief Magistrate court on Sunday September 30th while the grade one Magistrate court ordered them to return on 30th August.
However, Hon. Kassiano Wadri, said he complied with the directive of the chief magistrate court.
“I did see the mistake, but however, there are two courts that have given different orders legitimately. When we first appeared before the chief magistrates’ court, our remand was for 14 days which ended today and that’s why I am here. However, on Monday we did apply for Bail before the High court and it ordered among other conditions that we should report to court for extension of our bail conditions on 30th September which of course confused many of my colleagues” Wadri explained.
Ndiwalana while adjourning today’s court pardoned the suspects who were absent but advised their lawyers to seek amendment of the documents to October 1st.
The suspects were arrested on August 13th during the final campaign rallies for Arua Municipality by-election. They are charged with prison, due to an alleged attack on the president’s convoy. Kassiano Wadri won the election while in jail.