Lawyers for 15 terror suspects have petitioned the Buganda Road Magistrates Court to give doctors from the African Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims access to the jails to check the detainees’ health.
Money launderer Yusuf Muwonge alias Hamza Ssemaganda alias Robert Danze, Shamirah Naddamba, welder Ismail Kiyemba, boda boda rider Muniru Bogere, student Eron Nanfuka, tailor Sharon Nakitende, and housewife Annet Nakato Nakibirango are among the accused.
Businessmen Zam Naiga, Ismail Matiwa, Huzaifa, Faisal Nadir Nsubuga, Bashir Jjuuko Kiwanuka alias Fred, Mohammed Kisiitu, Hamuza Bakyayita, a conductor, Jero Ishaq, a shop assistant, and Twaha Wambedde, an Imam at Kabila mosque in Nabweru, are among the others.
The prosecution claims that between 2017 and 2021, the accused created, installed, and detonated improvised bombs with the intent of causing death and serious harm, as well as significant economic loss, without regard for the safety of others.
It goes on to say that the five women illegally harbored and provided financial support to the male suspects, knowing full well that this support would be utilized to commit terrorist crimes.
When the case was called before Grade One Magistrate Asuman Muhumuza on Thursday, State Attorney Patricia Cingtho informed the court that investigations into the case were still ongoing and requested an adjourned date.
However, the suspects’ lawyer, Geoffrey Turyamusiima, told the court that they attempted to raise human rights concerns about their clients during the previous session, but were told to do so today. Turyamusiima testified in court that his clients were tortured because they were charged after being held in unknown custody for nearly a month, infringing on their constitutional right to liberty.
The accused had wounds on their legs, buttocks, and hands, which Turyamusiima suspected were caused by torture, and one of them, Zam Naiga, appeared to be the most abused, according to the court.
He also stated that another female suspect, Sharon Nakitende, is significantly pregnant and fainted due to high blood pressure during the last session.
Turyamusiima then urged the court to issue an order for doctors from the African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims- ACTV to visit various prisons where the suspects are being held on remand to see if they have been tortured.
ACTV is a non-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights, with a focus on advocacy against torture as well as treatment and rehabilitation of survivors of torture by state and non-state actors. It was founded under the guidance of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).
The magistrate remanded the case until January 27 to allow the prosecution to respond.
Grace Sonko, the mother of one of the accused, Nakitende, has written to the government pleading for help.
The suspects were reportedly arrested with children aged between one year and a half and eleven years and for the heightened.