The Court of Appeal and the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Kampala have declined to issued orders to have jailed legislators, Muhammad Ssegirinya for Kawempe North and his Makindye West counterpart Allan Ssewanyana released on bail.
The duo were arrested last year and charged with several counts of murder, attempted murder and terrorism in regards the spate of killings by unknown assailants using machetes in Greater Masaka area in which over 20 people were killed.
They were later granted bail by the Masaka High Court in September last year but wee unfortunately re-arrested shortly after release from prison and fresh murder charges instituted against them.
They would later apply for bail before Masaka High Court in regards the fresh murder charge but the court declined to grant them bail, prompting them to petition the Court of Appeal over the same.
On Wednesday morning, three justices of the Court of Appeal including Cheborion Barishaki, Christopher Izama Madrama and Eva Luswata threw out the petition saying the court doesn’t have any jurisdiction to entertain the matter in which they challenge the High Court decision to deny them bail.
“We find that proceeding in this matter to hear the appeal would be without jurisdiction and would amount to nothing. We accordingly sustain the preliminary objection to the appeal. on the ground according to sections ‘132, 133 of the Trial on lndictment Act, sections 34, 35 and 36 of the Criminal Procedure Code Act, section 10 of the Judicature Act and Article134 (2) of the Constitution, the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to hear the appeal,” the justices ruled.
“The appellant is not precluded from following any provisions of the Human Rights (Enforcement) Act, 2019 where it is applicable. Thus our decision is that the appeal before us is incompetent.”
Another court dismisses case
In an unprecedented manner, another court has on the same day dismissed an application in which Ssewanyana and Segirinya sought temporary release from prison.
The duo filed an application before the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Kampala where they were committed for trial seeking to have them released on bail but also condemn the state for their re-arrest after the earlier release.
They asked the court to review the bail granted earlier, noting that it was wrong for the state to re-arrest them shortly after release from prison but also asked for costs for the violation of their rights by continuing to detain them in prison despite having earlier been released on bail.
On Wednesday, Lady Justice Elizabeth Jane Alividza reasoned with the state that the bail granted to the two legislators has not been violated and are therefore in prison in regards to another case in which they were denied bail by the Masaka High Court.
The judge therefore noted that the instant case is wrongly before her court.
“For this reason alone, this application is wrongly before me,” Lady Justice Alividza said in a ruling read for her by the court’s deputy registrar, Pamela Lamunu.
The judge noted that it makes no sense to have the two MPs released basing on the file where they were granted bail by the Masaka High Court yet there is another file where court declined to grant bail.
She noted that this would mean they will be re-arrested over the other case file where they were not granted bail.
The judge however blasted security agencies over the manner the two legislators were re-arrested from prison saying that being Members of Parliament, they ought to have been treated with dignity.