Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Missing journalist produced in court

 Kampala, 1st/August/2011; Augustine Okello who has been detained incommunicado  for two and half weeks is produced before court and remanded to Luzira prison. Although Okello’s name did not appear on the charge sheet but the Buganda road court Grade One magistrate Grace Balintuma went ahead to read out the charge of  terrorism. He was not allowed to enter a plea because the court had jurisdiction to try him.
 Okello a.k.a was added on the list of suspects who are accused of killing the self exiled Col. Muzoora two months ago as accused number seven (7). The charge sheet however alleges that Okello between October 2006 and 2011 in different parts of the country with other people formed a rebel group called Uganda People’s Freedom (UPF) which recruited people and mobilized logistical support for their rebellion to overthrow the Kampala government by force of arm. His appearance before court came hours after Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) threatened to sue five top commanders of government forces including the Inspector General of Police, Chief of Defense Forces and commanders of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, Rapid Response Unit and Internal Security Organ for contempt of court in a press conference. This followed the failure by forces to comply with a court order issued on 25th/July/2011 which required them to produce Okello in court in a period of 24 hours.
Okello disappeared on July 13th in Lira, in northern Uganda after holding meetings with security chiefs in the area including Lira’s district internal security officer (DISO), Steven Eryaku. Eryaku according to sources allegedly phoned Okello and they met later at Grand Pacific hotel in Lira town.
 Before a charge sheet was read out to Okello the defense lawyer Adam Makmot Kibwanga had objected to it saying that the facts used against him were far different from the case he’s being accused of, but magistrate Ntuma said such matters will be addressed before the trial magistrate. We know Okello has been brought to court out of pressure but the charge sheet should have corresponded with the case allegedly committed. How can the entire Directorate of Public Prosecution fail a simple job of amending a charge sheet we are going to contest that in the highest court said Makmot Okello was remanded to Luzira prison until 12th August when he’s expected to take a plea.
For More Information Contact;
 Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
 Kivebulaya Road Mengo Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Pre. School
 P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
 Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627
 E-mail: news@hrnjuganda.org
 Website: www.hrnjuganda.org
 BLOG: http://hrnjuganda.blogpost.com

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