Human rights activists have identified two security personnel involved in the brutal and violent re-arrest of suspects in the killing of Andrew Felix Kaweesi in the recent past, saying they are ready to seek social justice and legal redress in courts of law.
There have been disturbing incidents in the recent past where suspects granted bail by courts of law have been arrested moments later by individuals attached to security agencies. In all incidents, the armed security personnel were dressed in plain clothes and have used excessive force.
In September this year, four of the eight suspects held in connection with the murder of former Police spokesperson, AIGP Andrew Kaweesi, were released on bail by the International Crimes Division of the High Court and discharged by court registrar Esther Nasambu.
However, while they were exiting the court precincts, the four of them (Joshua Kyambadde, Jibril Kalyango, Yusuf Nyanzi and Yusuf Mugerwa) together with their lawyer James Mubiru were re-arrested by armed uniformed and plain-clothes security men and driven off.
Such arrests have caused an outcry from the judiciary, sections of the legal fraternity as well as rights activists.
Following the September incident, the Judiciary issued a statement condemning the high-handedness in the re-arrest of people released by court as “a direct affront to the much cherished rule of law in Uganda”.
The Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo condemned strongly what he said was “wanton disregard to the independence of the Judiciary which is contrary to the protection of the Judiciary enshrined under Article 128 of the Constitution”.
The Judiciary urged security agencies to “refrain from flagrant abuse of the law”.
The statement by the Judiciary added that the perpetrators of should be “brought to book as a clear and unmistakable statement that actions such as this one cannot be tolerable”.
Now, human rights lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo has said two of the men involved in the separate incidents (illegal re-arrest of suspects) have already been identified.
One of them is named RA/230989 Omara Robby said to be attached to the Joint Anti-terrorism Task Force (JATT), a security agency charged with countering terrorism.
According to lawyer Opio, Omara Robby was involved in the September arrest outside the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Kampala.
It is alleged Robby is the individual who was pictured choking the lawyer of the suspects before he (lawyer) was dragged into a van.
The other suspect has been identified as Sergeant Kanyana Christopher who is also said to be attached to JATT.
Kanyana is said to have been among the armed plain-clothed security personal who stopped Ahmed Ssenfuka, one of the suspects (in the Kaweesi murder case) and violently dragged him into another private vehicle. The incident occurred in November last year near the Spear Motors junction in Nakawa, Kampala.
They conceal their faces with lowered hats because they know that they are breaking the law & do not want to be identified. Well, we have now positively identified these individuals & will seek to hold them to account for their actions. pic.twitter.com/yiRo34B5Zj
— Nicholas Opiyo (@nickopiyo) October 15, 2019
Ssenfuka was among seven suspects that had been granted bail by Nakawa court Magistrate Noah Ssajabi. One of the men who arrested Ssenfuka was holding a pistol.
Nicholas Opiyo who is Executive Director and lead lawyer at Chapter Four Uganda, a legal and advocacy organization, told SoftPower News that Kanyana Christopher and Omara Robby are part of the group whose identities his (Opiyo) team is still trying to establish. Once the relevant evidence has been gathered, the individuals who are accused of executing illegalities will be taken to court, Opiyo said.
“They are more than two individuals. These individuals from JATT, CMI and ISO have no power in law to effect arrests, detain suspects or even investigate crime,” Opiyo told this news website.
“The National Security Organizations Act is clear on this. They are counter intelligence outfits with no role in arresting, detaining or investigation of crime”.
#Identified (No. 2) The individual seen in this picture choking a lawyer of the Kaweesi suspects at the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Kampala on Sept. 11, 2019 is RA/230989 Omara Robby. He's a member of the JATT team codenamed 'warriors.' We'll seek justice pic.twitter.com/GU1AtUtj7R
— Nicholas Opiyo (@nickopiyo) October 21, 2019
He added that the places where such intelligence agencies have often detained suspects are not gazetted by law as places of detention, which makes such detentions illegal.
He said; “Once we have gathered all the evidence and we are confident about going to court, we shall seek justice”.
In explaining the grounds of suing the said individuals for the unlawful acts, Opiyo made reference to the condemnation of the same by the Judiciary as well as the Uganda Law Society previously.
The lawyer says the other objective of revealing the identities of the men involved in these illegal arrests is to hold them to account socially.
“The first angle is social accountability. So that people – their daughters, mothers, wives and friends – who are close to them get to know about this and tell them about the heinous acts that they have been involved in,” Opiyo said.
“People must be accountable for the actions they take while in public office”.
Whenever there has been condemnation of security agencies for unlawful and brutal arrests of suspects granted bail, some of the agencies responsible have come out to say that some of these suspects were being investigated for other charges this justifying further detention.