Police, Military Justify Detention of Usafi Mosque Suspects Beyond 48 Hours

L-R: Deputy Spokespersons; SP Patrick Onyango (Police) and Lt Col Deo Akiki (UPDF) during Monday's press briefing at Uganda Media Centre.

Security agencies leading the double investigation involving the murder of Susan Magara and the alleged abduction of over 100 people found in a Kampala mosque last week, have justified the delay in producing suspects in court.

Article 23 (4) of the Constitution of Uganda grants suspects under detention a right to be brought before court not later than 48 hours from the time of their arrest.

“A person arrested or detained for the purpose of bringing him or her before a court in execution of an order of a court; or upon reasonable suspicion of his or her having committed or being about to commit a criminal offence under the laws of Uganda, shall, if not earlier released, be brought to court as soon as possible but in any case not later than forty-eight hours from the time of his or her arrest,” the Article reads.

In the case of the over 36 people who were arrested 10 days ago for their alleged involvement in the kidnap of over 100 people and holding them hostage in the Usafi mosque, they have not been produced before court. Some of the suspects were arrested in connection to the murder of 28-year-old Susan Magara who was kidnapped and later found dead in February.

While responding to queries from the press on why the suspects have not been detained in violation of the law, the Police deputy spokesperson, Patrick Onyango said that the variances in charges some of which require technical examinations have not made it possible to respect the 48 hour detention law.

“Due to the demand of the investigations and the several charges that have come up, we could not take them (suspects) in that period,” Onyango told journalists.

He added that had the investigation been only focusing on the kidnap and murder of Magara, circumstances would have allowed for the suspects to be produced in the stipulated time.

“But now, we are focusing on human trafficking and defilement which require technical people and medical examination. So, we can not take them in that period”.

Commenting on the same issue, the Deputy Spokesperson of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces, Lt Col Deo Akiki said cases that involve terrorism may demand that the 48-hour rule be wavered.

“Some times, we have other rules that we may use that may compel us to go before 48 hours. Once we detect any aorta of terrorism in these investigations, we assure you we shall apply laws that relate to terrorism,” Lt Col Akiki said.

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