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Lawyers Decry Detention of Rwandans

Gawaya Tegulle and Michael Aboneka of Thomas and Michael Advocates, say the suspects were arrested between October, 2018 and April, 2019. But security agencies have repeatedly refused to produce them in court.
Lawyers; Michael Aboneka Gawanya Tegulle chatting after addressing journalists on detained Rwandan clients at Fiarway Hotel on Monday morning

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Lawyers of five Rwandans detained by Internal Security Organisation (ISO) and Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) have called for the respect of suspect’s rights.   

Gawaya Tegulle and Michael Aboneka of Thomas and Michael Advocates, say the suspects were arrested between October, 2018 and April, 2019. But security agencies have repeatedly refused to produce them in court.   

The suspects are Eric Rugorotsi, a businessman arrested on 25th October 2018 by ISO officers; David Twahiirwa who was arrested by ISO officers on 15th November 2018, Theoneste Ntakirutimana, a Pentecostal minister was arrested by CMI on 28th March 2019, Assimwe Appolinaire, a Pentecostal arrested by CMI officers on April 7th 2019 and Deus Gasana, a money changer arrested by ISO on April 3rd April 2019.   

In the case of Rugorotsi, the lawyers say they secured a court order but ISO refused to produce him in court. Lawyers say security agencies are infringing on the rights of the suspects.   

“As lawyers, we have instituted legal proceedings in respect of all these cases, but neither our demands nor the orders of court have been respected by security agencies,” Aboneka said.

  Adding that, “We challenge the security agencies to come out and institute formal proceedings against our clients without further ado.”  The arrest of Rwandans is at the heart of the Rwanda-Uganda diplomatic feud. Rwanda closed its Gatuna border at the end of February and strongly advised its citizens against crossing into Uganda.  

Rwanda accuses Uganda of hosting and aiding dissidents plotting to destabilize Kigali government.  

Uganda has repeatedly denied all accusations raised by Rwanda.

  Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa last month warned that Uganda will not tire from “protecting the security of its citizens and borders and will act accordingly against local or foreign threats.” He said anyone including Rwandans visiting Uganda have nothing to fear if they are law abiding.   

If arrested Rwandans pose a security threat to Uganda, Aboneka says they should be produced in court. He says government has a duty to respond to court summons and explaining why Rwandans are detained.   

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Gawanya Tegulle says ISO has been extremely uncooperative by refusing to acknowledge receipt of court documents and respond. This, he says has complicated attempt to get suspects produced in court.   

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