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Luweero Chief Magistrate to Make Weekly Visits to Police Cells

Luweero Chief Magistrate Samuel Munobe told URN in an interview on Wednesday that as a way of reducing complaints, he and other officials under the District Chain Link Committee have resolved to make weekly visits to police cells to establish why suspects are detained there above 48 hours and ensure that residents get justice.
File Photo; Luweero District Resident Commissioner Phoebe Namulindwa and DIGP Sabiiti Muzeyi during a field tour at Luweero Central Police Station last year . Police have been accused of detaining suspects above 48 hours
Luweero Chief Magistrate Samuel Munobe will make weekly visits to Police cells to investigate why suspects are detained beyond the mandatory 48 hours. The Ugandan constitution grants suspect's under detention a right to be brought before the courts within 48 hours from the time of their arrest.

However, there is a general outcry that Police detains suspects in Police cells for days and sometimes weeks without trial, in breach of the constitution.

Munobe told URN in an interview on Wednesday that as a way of reducing complaints, he and other officials under the District Chain Link Committee have resolved to make weekly visits to police cells to establish why suspects are detained there above 48 hours and ensure that residents get justice.

The District Chain Link Committee comprises the office of the Resident State Attorney, Prison officers, Magistrates, Police Commanders, the Chief Administrative Officer, Local Leaders, and  Resident District Commissioners.

Munobe explains that the visits seek to end counter-accusations between Police and office of the Resident State Attorney over the delays to present suspects before court.

Munobe said there have been reports that some Police officers detain suspects for days in order to help them negotiate their wat out of the trial and reconcile them with complainants, an act which he maintains, is illegal. He accused the Policemen of attempting to usurp the court process.

Munobe explained that during the visits, the committee will investigate why suspects are detained above the mandatory hours and recommend actions to facilitate a speedy trial for all persons caught on the wrong side of the law.

The Savannah Regional Police Commander Caroline Akoth welcomed the resolution saying it will help magistrates to interact with investigating officers and appreciate why they detain suspects longer than the mandatory 48 hours.

Akoth explained that the longer detentions are facilitated by the nature of offenses, delays in sanctioning files by the State Attorney and quick response to public outcry to arrest suspects before investigations are done. Akoth, however, admitted that some officers detain suspects beyond mandatory hours for personal benefits.

Recently the Luweero Resident State Attorney Beatrice Alok Odong rapped Police officers for using her office as an excuse to deny suspects speedy trials. She accused CID detectives at Luweero Central Police Station for telling lies to complainants that files take long to be sanctioned by the office.

Odong said that she was surprised to learn that some suspects are detained for months without trial yet files can only stay at her office for 2-3 days if there is a backlog. Odong has since advised relatives of suspects to complain to her office, whenever the excuse comes up.