The hearing of a case involving six former aides of renegade UPDF General David Sejusa, has taken a new twist, after a suspect accused a police officer of torturing him to obtain a confession.
Pte Frank Ninsiima last week denied the contents of a statement attributed to him, saying a police officer from Katwe police station, Benon Ayebare, recorded it under duress, and after torturing him. Ninsiima and five co-accused, who were arrested shortly after Sejusa fled the country in April last year, have been on remand at Kigo prison on charges of treason and concealment of treason.
Their co-accused are Lance Cpl Grace Nasasira, Lance Cpl Geoffrey Karuhanga, James Nayebare, Moses Nuwagaba and Abel Twinamatsiko.
After prosecution presented its six witnesses last month, Ninsiima’s lawyer, Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, told the General court martial presided over by Maj Gen Levi Karuhanga that his client objects to the tendering of his statement. This prompted the court’s judge aocate, Lt Col Gideon Katinda, to aise court to halt the hearing of the main suit. He called for a trial within a trial to establish facts of the alleged duress and torture.
When the case came up again on October 29, prosecution produced Ayebare, a detective assistant superintendent of police (DASP), to prove that Ninsiima signed for the caution and charge statement willingly. Ayebare says he was assigned to record Ninsiima’s charge and caution statement by the deputy director CIID John Godfrey Musana on May 7, 2013 at Kira division police station.
“After Ninsiima was brought to me by Anume, I introduced myself to him and we interacted freely before he signed the statement. I recorded for him as required by the police standing order,” Ayebare told court, which included the accused’s wives and relatives.
However, during cross examination, Rwakafuuzi and other two defence lawyers slammed Ayebare for “a poor job done” for failing to establish the facts of the torture complaints. Rwakafuuzi, who referred to Ayebare as a robot, asked him why he is the one who was picked from Katwe yet there were other police officers at Kira of a similar rank.
A charge and caution statement under the law is supposed to be taken by a police officer at the rank of DASP and above. Ayebare said the question could only be answered by Musana, although he believes he was assigned because of his good record and experience.
After admitting that the statement has no single sentence relating to treason, Ayebare testified that he did not aise his bosses about it because he was not an investigating officer in the case. The case was adjourned to November 19 for further hearing.
Source : The Observer