Uganda: Besigye Treason Case Adjourned for a Month

Nakawa court Chief Magistrate James Ereemye Mawanda has once again adjourned the mention of Dr Kizza Besigye's treason case to allow prosecution time to complete its investigations into the matter.

Mawanda made the ruling this morning following a request by the state attorney, Doreen Elima for more time to conclude the investigations just like two weeks ago.

Elima told court that given the fact that treason is a capital offense, it requires exhaustive investigations to collect all the required evidence. She said that although the law requires that investigations are completed within six months, there should be an exception given the gravity of the matter before court.

Besigye, who has continued to represent himself in the case, asked the state to abandon the case if it has failed to complete investigations. He said if the state needs a a year or six months to complete investigations they should tell court to adjourn the case until then so that he doesn't have to reappear in court every time only for the state to request for more time.

"These charges they prefer against me are aimed at weakening me into submitting to this regime. I won't," he said.

He said it is a total waste of tax payer's money and his resources to keep dragging him to court, yet there are so many prisoners who haven't had their cases tried before the court.

Besigye said it is not only him who is inconvenienced but also other people who have to adjust their programs and movement because roads leading to and around court are usually blocked. He said the state also deploys heavily whenever he is to appear in court a cost that would be saved if the case was only brought for mention once the state is ready.

Besigye also said because he has a capital offense hanging over his head, he can't even access a bank loan for his businesses who worry that on conviction he faces death. Besigye further told court that "in other countries investigations are carried out before arrests" so as to avoid inconveniencing suspects as much as possible.

Justice Mawanda ruled that since the state isn't ready to proceed with the case, he will adjourn the court for a longer period to allow the state to complete its investigations. He therefore adjourned the mention to August 12.

Besigye was dragged to court by the state in May for allegedly declaring himself winner of the disputed February 18th polls and swearing in himself as president.

Nakawa Magistrate's court remanded him to Luzira Maximum Prison on May 18. He applied for bail on grounds of his advanced age, his previous conduct while on bail and presentation of substantial sureties.

He was released by Justice Wilson Masalu Musene on Tuesday on a non-cash bond of Shs 100 million after spending close to sixty days on remand.

Source: The Observer