DPP drops terror charges 19 suspects

It was a mixture of joy and anxiety at the High Court in Kampala as the state dropped charges of terrorism against 19 suspects who have been on remand for nearly two years.

The suspects were on Monday produced in court for the hearing of their case but the state prosecutor Thomas Jatiko told court that the state had lost interest in the case.

Jatiko presented a letter written by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mike Chibita dated March 23 asking the presiding judge Wilson Musene Masalu to free the suspects.

The announcement excited the suspects and their relatives and friends, but there were fears that they would get re-arrested like it has been the case in the recent past.

Last month, security operatives re-arrested Ismail Kalule moments after he had been released on bail by judge Moses Mukiibi of the Kololo based International crimes division of the High Court.

Jatiko had to make assurances to the now freed former suspects that they would not be re-arrested, referring to the fears as mere speculations.

Key among the freed suspects is Aisha Nakasibante, a sister-in-law to the Australia based Ugandan cardiologist, Dr Aggrey Kiyingi.

She was arrested with Sheikh Muhammad Yunus Kamoga, the convicted former leader of Muslim Tabliq youths.

While Kamoga and his brother Multatha Bukenya Mudde got convicted and handed life sentences for verbal terrorism, Nakasibante remained in jail and got charged separately for treason and mis-prison of treason.

Others who were freed include, Hakim Kinene Muswaswa, Muzamilu Kasawuli, Arafat Serunjoji alias Bukenya, Alex Okot, Olanya Joseph alias Onekmon, Okidi Charles, and RA 17019 Pte Arajab Mubaje alias Magombe Sulaiman.

The list also had Issa Matanda alias Charles, Haji Abdul Ratif Byamukama alias Tusiime, Asadu Ssemwogerere, Solomon Kibirige, Safiyi Wadwali alias Swafi Shafi, Yusuf Sentamu alias Kasibante, Muhamad Kolodo alias Kasibante, Ismail Ssentogo and Abonga Nick Frank alias Bongomin.

Prosecution had alleged that while operating in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Dubai between the years of 2013 and 2015, the suspects ploted to overthrow the government using fire arms.

According to prosecution, the suspects made statement that expressed their intentions, recruited and trained rebels, acquired satellite mobile phones for communication, motorcycles and vehicles for transport and also rented houses to act as safe houses to accomplish their mission.

Three of the group members namely, Mudde Bukenya and two brothers, Amil Kinene and Hakim Kinene were sent back to Luzira prison since they had previously been convicted with Sheikh Kamoga and sentenced to life imprisonment.