31 NUP Supporters Denied Bail by Army Court

A sombre mood covered the Makindye-based army court yesterday as 31 National Unity Platform (NUP) party supporters were denied bail.

The group was arrested in Kalangala District while on a campaign trail of then presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine.

They face charges of being in unlawful possession of ammunition, contrary to Section 3 (1) and (2) of the Firearms Act.

The General Court Martial chaired by Brig Gen Freeman Mugabe declined to grant the accused people bail, pending the hearing of their case, reasoning that the sureties are not substantial, applicants did not prove that they have fixed places of aboard and the offences against them are serious in nature.

“Accordingly, this court declines to grant bail to the applicants and the application is hereby dismissed. Court orders an expeditious trial of the applicants in the main case,” Brig Gen Mugabe ruled.

Shortly after Brig Gen Mugabe pronounced his decision, the fully packed court began murmuring while some family members started crying, proclaiming that their children were being witch-hunted.

“How can the court rule that we cannot stand sureties for our own children yet we are citizens and have our homes? The President’s son [Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba] said only one word and he [President Museveni] came out on his behalf seeking forgiveness. How about our children?” wondered Ms Justine Nakabango, a mother of one of the suspects.

“We are tired of pleading; we shall not ask for forgiveness because our children did not do anything. If they want; let them take them, we have given them to you,” another relative cried out.

Some of the grounds that the group had raised through their lawyer, Mr George Musisi, for consideration for their release include having a constitutional right to apply for bail, being ready to abide by the release terms, the offence being bailable and having substantial sureties.

They had also promised not to interfere with the state investigations and witnesses, if any, and that they have permanent places of abode within the jurisdiction of the court. However, prosecution led by Lt Gift Mubehamwe asked court to dismiss the bail application on grounds that the sureties presented were not substantial as they could not ably identify themselves.

Prosecution alleges that between November 2020 and May 12, 2021, in diverse areas of Jinja, Mbale, Kireka, Nakulabye, Kawempe, Nateete and Kampala Central, the accused were in possession of 13 pieces of explosive devices, a monopoly of the Defence Forces.

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