As the thirty two terror suspects were eagerly awaiting the commencement of trial at the High Court in Kampala early today, it has emerged that half of the accused have been issued with Production Warrants [PWs], to appear before the Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s court.
According to one of their lawyers Twaha Mayanja, his clients who are being accused of killing several Muslim clerics across the country faced ‘double jeopardy’ as the 16 summoned suspects are facing similar charges in the High Court.
Mayanja also said none of the defence lawyers has been briefed about the Nakawa warrants.
”This has created tension in the defence camp since a similar incidence has ever happened and when the lawyers together with their clients reached court, no judge was present and the prisoners were sent to the court cell for some time and eventually let to return since none of the court guards had any idea about the coming of the accused,” Mr. Mayanja said.
In response Justice Duncan Gaswaga, who presided over the pre-trial session advised the defense team to contact the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) about their grievances. However, he also asked them to be present in the Nakawa court on August 17, armed with all the details of their position.
Meanwhile, counsel Mayanja said the evidence adduced before court is insufficient to link his clients to the alleged crimes.
“So far we do not see any link pinning any of our clients that they got involved in the murders, in any given form,” Mr Mayanja said adding that two of his clients, A30 Isa Mubiru and A31 Ismail Senkumbi, who were arrested from Dubai where they had stayed for over ten years, have no single statement or connection to the evidence presented so far.
However, the Principal State Attorney Lino Anguzu answered that the missing statements of the two suspects could have been displaced in the course of transferring documents from the police to the DPP’s office but hastened to add that he will avail them at the next court session.
Mr Anguzu also requested the judge to allow him time to take the defense to the see the bulk of exhibits tomorrow, amend the charge sheet and also to allow the defense to analyze all the disclosed exhibits so that all parties prepare for the trial promptly.
Justice Gaswaga explained to the accused the relevance of the pre – trial sessions, saying it helps reduce the trial time with all the three judges, taking a maximum of two days only.
The judge, who is set to head the first Anti-corruption Commission on the island nation of Seychelles, also issued a schedule to be followed by the parties before the trial conference scheduled for September 5.
Meanwhile, several relatives of the accused who have been denied entry to court have been provided with TV screens in an alternative room from where they can follow the court proceedings.