Uganda: High Court Recalls File on Besigye House Arrest Case

By Frederic Musisi

Kampala - The Criminal Division of the High Court yesterday recalled the case file of FDC presidential candidate Kizza Besigye from Kasangati Magistrate's Court ahead of the scheduled ruling today.

Deputy Registrar of the High Court Eleanor Khainza yesterday wrote to Grade One Magistrate Prossy Katushabe, requesting Dr Besigye's application in which he sued Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura and Kampala North RPC Wesley Nganizi.

"Reference is made to the above matter in which the DPP has petitioned the High Court for a revision. You are requested to send the file to the High Court Division immediately."

The magistrate wrote back: "This is to forward the above mention case file for revision."

Yesterday morning, the court had ruled that it would proceed with the hearing of the application in which Dr Besigye is challenging his house arrest. The magistrate had set the ruling on the case today at 10.30am.

State Attorney Caroline Nabassa, on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions [DPP], had last week requested the court to dismiss the case, arguing that a similar application had been filed at the High Court and continuing with it was tantamount to abuse of the court process.

Earlier contention

However, the magistrate argued that the case before [Kasangati court] was filed under the Police Act which gives the magistrate's court powers to handle it.

Last evening, Judiciary communications officer Solomon Muyita confirmed the development to this newspaper, saying the date for hearing of the application at the High Court [Criminal Division] will be known by Thursday when a judge has been assigned to it. The DPP had earlier also argued that the IGP and RPC cannot be sued because [in detaining Besigye] they are acting in official capacity and that it is the Attorney General (AG) who is answerable. However,t Ms Katushabe ruled that having given time to the AG to respond to the matter, her court was yet to receive any communication on the immunity of the police boss.

On the parallel application at the High Court's Civil Division, she argued that civil proceedings in a higher court cannot stop hearing of criminal proceedings in a lower court and hence called upon all parties to file their submission to court by today 3pm.

The High Court recalling the file means ruling on the application hangs in balance. It was also not clear if Dr Besigye's lawyers had been notified of the development since only the DPP had been copied in correspondences.

However, Dr Besigye's lawyer David Mpanga, had called for the unconditional release of his client, pending all the sides reaching a middle ground in the submissions. Mr Mpanga argued that he has been detained more than the mandatory 48 hours.

Source: All Africa

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