Uganda News

Lawyer Mabirizi is returned to prison when the court refuses to free him.

The Kampala Court of Appeal has refused to give a temporary injunction preventing lawyer Male Mabirizi from being released from prison, where he was committed after being arrested by police and sentenced to 18 months in prison for contempt of court.

After being found guilty of persistent contempt of court for criticizing judicial officers via his social media accounts, Mabirizi was sentenced to 18 months in prison by High Court Justice Musa Ssekaana on February 15.

Mabirizi was detained earlier this week and transported to Kitalya after the judge ordered police to arrest him on the spot to ensure he served his sentence.

Mabirizi, through his lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde, requested that the 18-month sentence be suspended until the outcome of his appeal appealing the sentence and the Shs300 million punishment imposed by the High Court.

Justice Christopher Madrama ruled on Friday that Mabirizi’s request for a stay of execution for the 18-month sentence could not be granted because he had not filed for one.

The judge agreed with the State Attorney Patricia Mutesi, who had told the court earlier this week that Mabirizi had only appealed the shs300 million fine, not the 18-month sentence.

She explained to the court that the 18-month sentence was only added as an affidavit for the Shs300 million fine appeal.

On Friday, Justice Madrama persuaded the State Attorney that Mabirizi had not filed an appeal against his 18-month sentence.

Events have overtaken me.

In addition, Justice Madrama ruled that he lacked jurisdiction to overturn the High Court’s order regarding the 18-month sentence, which he claimed had been overtaken by events.

He claimed that while the stay of execution application was intended to prevent Mabirizi’s arrest and imprisonment, nothing could be done now because he had already been detained and transported to prison, implying that the application had been overtaken by circumstances.

The Shs300 million fine has been stayed.

The judge did, however, order an interim injunction preventing Mabirizi from paying the shs300 million fine imposed by the High Court for contempt of court on January 27, 2022.

Mabirizi’s attempts to request a review by the judge were unsuccessful after Justice Christopher Madrama claimed he was not entitled to do so, but advised the lawyer to file a formal application for the court to consider it or seek for bail.

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