KAMPALA – The Uganda Law Society the umbrella body of legal practitioners has blasted government and security organs over the increasing cases of illegal detentions in the country saying such acts are unconstitutional.
In a statement issued Sunday June 24, Simon Peter Kinobe, the ULS President said that the constitution grants suspects under detention a right to be brought before court not later than 48 hours from the time of arrest.
The ULS now wants President Museveni to demonstrate practical commitment to the rule of law by exercising his Commander-in-Chief function to order the various security organs to observe the provisions of the law and order the release of all illegally detained citizens that are not produced to court.
“This should be done with no withstanding his [president] personal views on bail and pre-trail freedoms of suspects,” Mr Kinobe said.
President Museveni earlier this month directed the Inspector General Police John Martins Okoth-Ochola and Chief Justice Bart Katurebe to suspend police bonds and bails for suspected killer respectively.
“There two things I will not accept anymore, police bond and bail for killers, I don’t want to hear of a police bond, if you’re suspected of killing innocent people, there’s no bond for you, no way. Then the issue of bail. Please, Chief Justice, bail for suspected killers is not acceptable,” Museveni said during the budget reading. Mr Bart Katureebe, the Chief Justice later issued a statement saying the courts will be guided by the law in its current form in determining bail applications.
But according to the law society, despite the fact that there are prevailing security challenges, insecurity is not grounds to suspend fundamental human rights and civil liberties guaranteed by the constitution without due process.
The law society says this violation of the law had been perpetrated by the Police, Internal Security Organisation (ISO) and other military operatives.
“We have also noted an increase in detention of citizens to unknown places and places not gazetted by law. These include among others Sympson Birungi, General Kale Kayihura and Betty Bakireke Nambooze,” Mr Kinobe said in a statement demanding their immediate unconditional release.
The ULS has called upon the judicial bodies including General Court Martial to unconditionally release suspects whose human rights have been violated saying this will demonstrate that their courts refuse to be complicit and enablers of illegal detention and all forms of partial injustice.