Gulu Elders Appeal for Release of Treason Suspects

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A group of elders in Gulu district have asked President Museveni to set free the eleven suspects who were arrested last year on suspicion of mobilizing a new rebel group in northern Uganda.

The suspects include Patrick Otim; a freelance journalist first went missing from his home in Pader town council in May last year before it later emerged they were in military custody. The discovery prompted Otim's wife to file an application asking High Court to directing the army to be produce the suspect from their custody where he was being held incommunicado.

Otim together with ten other men were in June remanded to Luzira prison after being charged with treason before Buganda road court.

The charge stated that the suspects committed the offence between 2006 and May 2009 in the eight districts of Gulu, Pader, Kitgum, Nebbi, Apac and Amuru, Masindi and Kampala.

Nearly a year after their arrest, the elders in Gulu want the president to set the suspects free.

Yusuf Adek, a resident of Gulu municipality and a former member of the LRA peace team is among the group of elders advocating the release of the suspects. They say government should set the suspects free after it failed to prove the existence of the rebel group.

Government claims that the suspects were forming a rebel group, the Popular Patriotic Front (PPF), and were recruiting people to fight the Government.

Walter Ochora, the Gulu Resident District Commissioner, admits that they intend to convey the appeal to the president to pardon the suspects. But he insists that the suspects should make an appeal seeking for pardon from the state.

Ochora added that he has been visiting the suspects in prison and was optimistic they would be pardoned once they appeal for amnesty.