On Friday, December 23rd, 2022, Justice Margaret Mutonyi acquitted Mwebe after the prosecution failed to explain why and how he was arrested and his connection to the double murder. Mwebe had spent over two years on remand for his alleged involvement in the double murders that occurred in September 2018 in Wakiso district.
It's coming to a week since
plain-clothed security operatives re-arrested Hamza Mwebe, one of the suspects in
the murder of former Assistant Superintendent of Police Muhammad Kirumira and
his friend Resty Nalinya shortly after his acquittal by the high court.
On Friday, December 23rd,
2022, Justice Margaret Mutonyi acquitted Mwebe after the prosecution failed to
explain why and how he was arrested and his connection to the double murder. Mwebe
had spent over two years on remand for his alleged involvement in the double
murders that occurred in September 2018 in Wakiso district.
security operatives riding in a minibus alias drone re-arrested him as he exited
the court premises. At that time, his lawyer Zefania Zimbe said that one of the
men who grabbed his client asked him not to worry, saying that they were taking
him to the Kampala Central Police Station along Buganda Road.
Zimbe told URN on Wednesday evening that they are
still searching for Mwebe’s whereabouts after failing to get him at Kampala
CPS. "At CPS we were told he's not there," said Zimbe. Patrick
Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, says that Mwebe is not
in any of their cells and would need to find out from their sister agencies to
ascertain if they are the ones holding him.
The police Act mandates
the police to make arrests and if they are to detain, do so for a period not
exceeding 48 hours. However, it is not uncommon for the army and unidentified
security operatives to arrest and keep civilians in military custody sometimes until
court orders that the suspects are produced dead or alive.
The Defense Ministry Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Felix
Kulayigye said that Mwebe wasn't in the custody of the army. This is not
the first time court has set free suspects, either temporarily on bail or
permanently upon acquittal and they are immediately re-arrested.
In November 2017, Ahmed Senfuka, one of the seven
people suspected of the murder of Assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew
Felix Kaweesi was brutally re-arrested shortly after being released by the
Nakawa grade one Magistrate Noah Sajjabi. In 2019, another group of
four suspects in the same murder case was re-arrested from court premises
shortly after being released by Justice Lydia Mugambe.
In 2016, High Court Judge, now Chief Justice
Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo acquitted five men who were part of the 13
suspects charged with offenses relating to the Kampala twin bombings at
Kyadondo Rugby Grounds and Ethiopian Village restaurant, Kabalagala during the
2010 World Cup finals between Netherlands and Spain in South Africa.
The police first kept the
suspects saying that they couldn't immediately release them for their own
safety for fear that they would be attacked by families of the bomb victim who might
be discontent with the ruling. Barely a week later, Police charged them before
the Chief Magistrates Court in Jinja district on fresh allegations of terrorism.
The same happened in November 2010 when the court
acquitted 18 suspects charged with taking part in the same twin bombings after the prosecution told the court that their investigations found that they were not
involved in the attack. Three acquitted suspects namely Christopher Baturaine,
Issa Ali Senkumba, and Abdulahi Muhamed were re-arrested immediately and taken
to an undisclosed location.