Francis-Butebi-Zaake

Arua Grade one Magistrate, Mr Swaleh Asiku, has acquitted Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake Butebi of charge of escaping from lawful police custody.

Zaake was on February 12, picked at Clock Tower in Kampala and detained at central Police station (CPS) before being taken to Arua court over chaotic scenes that proceeded the conclusion of municipality by- election campaigns.

He was later produced before Arua grade on Magistrate, Justice Lubowa Daniel, and charged with escaping from lawful custody. However, through his lawyers led by Tony Kitara, he applied for bail. His application was granted and released on Shs50 million non-cash bail as his sureties were bound to pay shs50 million non-cash.

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Magistrate Asiku acquitted him on grounds that since he was arrested, tortured and left unguarded in the hospital, which means that Zaake had no connection with the chaotic scenes that happened in Arua.

Mr Asiku ruled that the fact that the police left the accused (Zaake) at the hospital unguarded, it meant that he was not a suspect. “I now acquit the accused because he has no case to answer,” he said.

The MP was among the group of the 34 suspects who were detained in Gulu police cells and was reportedly dumped at Rubaga hospital by unknown security officers following the deterioration of his health condition. President Museveni reportedly said he had escaped from police custody.

Zaake and other suspects were arrested on Augusts 13, hours after holding their conclusive rallies ahead of the Arua Municipality by-election that was won by Kassiano Wadri. Zaake was arrested alongside Kyandondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, Ntungamo Municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga, Jinja East MP Paul Mwiru, Kassiano Wadri, former MP Michael Mabikke and 28 others NOW grappling with charges of treason and malicious damage of president’s vehicle.