KAMPALA – Supporters of opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) who were arrested for allegedly attacking a magistrate while sentencing Makerere University researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi, have been charged and remanded to Prison.
The suspects; Simon Wanyera, Abdullah Waiswa, Augustine Ojobile, Joel Kabali, Moses Katumba and Fatuma Abenabyo were charged with inciting violence.
The appeared before Grade One Magistrate Stellah Amabilis and denied the offence.
She, however, remanded them until August 16 this year for the state to respond to their bail application before court could make a ruling on their bail application.
Magistrate Amabilis said that she needed time to look at the documents presented by the accused persons before making a ruling.
State Attorney Miriam Njuki asked the court for at least a week to allow her to verify the documents presented and the particulars of the suspects in order to respond.
“Some sureties have introduction letters and others don’t. Inquiries into the matter are still ongoing. The offence was committed in this court and witnesses are officers of this court, chances are that the accused will interfere with investigations,” she said.
Lawyer Erias Lukwago who represented the suspects applied for bail, asking court to exercise its mandate for lenience. He said that some of the accused persons are nursing injuries sustained in the course of their arrest which was brutal.
According to Mr Lukwago, the suspects were beaten, dragged and dumped at Kampala Central Police Station where they have been until they were brought to court and that they have not got any opportunity to get any treatment or examination especially Ojobile and Wanyera who were badly beaten.
“In the case of Katumba at the time of his arrest, he was sick and on medication. He was denied access of his next of kin. We invite this court to find those grounds substantial for court to practice its desecration to grant them bail. They were screened and police had enough time to examine them,” he said.
Three of the suspects; Abenabyo, Kabali and Wanyera were charged on a separate case file with an offence of malicious damage.
It is alleged that the trio willfully damaged the gadget pinpoint GB a metal detector machine a property of Buganda Road Court.
Dr Nyanzi was sentenced by Grade One magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu to 18 months in prison after being found guilty of cyber harassment when, in 2018, she posted on Facebook a vulgar birthday poem dedicated to President Yoweri Museveni and his late mother.
However, while passing the verdict in Dr Nyanzi’s absence, chaos ensued from a fully packed courtroom when the group of people hurled insults and threw a bottle to the magistrate leading to the arrest.
The state alleges that on August 2 this year at Buganda Road Court, the group incited court audience to do an act of violence to Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu a magistrate at Buganda Road Court a reason of her office.
In the Sam court FDC activist Ms Ingrid Turinawe has also been charged with common nuisance and assult of a police officer Patrick Aluyo at the Central Police Station.
Prosecution states that on August 4, Turinawe did an act that caused annoyance or inconvenience to the public in the exercise of the common rights there by leading to a conclusion that she was a common nuisance.
Bail application will be heard on August 16.