Uganda: Besigye Decries Frequent Court Appearances

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye has decried the frequent court appearances which he says are costly on his side since in terms of finances and time

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye has decried the frequent court appearances which he says are costly on his side since in terms of finances and time.

According to him, the state is deliberately delaying investigations into the treason case against him thus frustrating his committal to the High Court for trial.

Dr Besigye said this while reappearing before Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court for mention of his treason case Wednesday morning after state prosecutor told court that the investigations into the case were not complete.

Prosecution led by principal state attorney Doreen Elima, to that effect, asked court to give them more time so that they conclude the investigations.

This was the first time that Dr Besigye was reappearing before the Nakawa Court as a free citizen following his release on bail on Tuesday by High Court judge Wilson Masalu Musene.

The four-time presidential candidate decried to Chief Magistrate James Ereemye of how the state was taking so long to conclude the investigations and that the same is very costly.

Explaining the costs involved in defending the treason case, Dr Besigye told court presided over by Chief Magistrate James Ereemye that since he is now out of prison, he has to look for fuel to drive from his village to Nakawa Court and also pay lawyers.

He also explained to court that he can't access a loan from any bank because of the grave charges that are hanging around his neck and that the bankers fear that since the charges are grave, he might be sentenced to death upon conviction and not recover their money.

"There is a cost that has to be borne by the suspect in terms of movement to court and back and also paying of the lawyers or pleaders and yet your worship, in the end, the prosecution has no case as it has been permanently in many of the prosecutions that I have faced.." Dr Besigye lamented in court.

He added: "Usually in civil cases, when you bring a case against a given party and the same is disadvantaged, that party is awarded costs which is not the matter in criminal proceedings that is why it is important that prosecution concludes investigations before arresting a suspect.."

But in response, Ms Elima said the prosecution is committed to conclude the investigations and have Dr Besigye sent to the High Court to stand trial.

She explained that the constitution gives the state six months to investigate grave charges and that so far, two months have elapsed and therefore by the end of six months, prosecution will have wound up with its inquiries and ready to commit Besigye to High Court for trial.

But in response, Dr Besigye proposed that the magistrate gives him a one year or six months' time when he will again appear in court.

However, court gave the state a one month's adjournment to enable them conclude the investigations.

Besigye who arrived at Nakawa court before 9am in the company of former Leader of Opposition in Wafula Oguttu, Buhweju MP Francis Mwijukye and Ingrid Turinawe took time to thank the magistrate for visiting him at Luzira prison last week as he had promised to access what he called 'terrible living conditions.'

"Your worship I want to thank you for having visited Luzira as promised and assessed the many problems that prisoners in that facility face. Now that I am out of prison, I intend to formerly petition the appropriate courts so that all regulations, standing orders that govern Uganda prisons today which were made in colonial times are reviewed," he said.

Besigye was Tuesday released on bail by the High Court in Kampala.

Justice Wilson Masalu Musene granted Besigye bail of Shs100 million not cash. Each of the four sureties that Besigye presented were also bonded Shs100million not cash.The sureties included; FDC party president Mugisha Muntu, General Secretary of FDC party, Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi, Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Mugume and Rubaga Division mayor, Joyce Ssebugwawo. "Having weighed all the circumstances and factors one after the other (Advanced age, attending previous court sessions and the sureties presented), I am inclined to grant bail to the applicant," judge Musalu said.

The judge cautioned Dr Besigye to refrain from acts of violence and preserve peace in the community until case is disposed-off.

He was ordered to report to the registrar of the court once every two weeks starting July 26.

Source: The Monitor

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