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Court rejects Kakwenza plea for passport to travel abroad

Kakwenza in court recently

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court has rejected a request by satirical novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija who is facing charges of offensive Communication to have his passport returned to him.

Court presided over by the Chief Magistrate Dr Douglas Singiza has rejected the request who said he has read through the available legal frame work and precedents and come at a conclusion to reject it.

According to Singiza  the  award which Kakwenza  wanted to go and pick from Germany as the reason to get back his passport  can be presented to him online.

Last week,  Kakwenza through his lawyers led by Eron Kiiza  made five prayers before court including to return his passport to enable him to attend an event in Germany where he was to be recognized as a Honorary Member of Pen International.

Kakwenza’s passport was  deposited with the court as one of the bail conditions when he was charged for having allegedly used his Twitter handle @KakwenzaRukira to disturb the peace of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his son Lt General Muhoozi Kainerugaba on December 26 and 28  2021.

Besides asking for the return of the passport, Kakwenza also asked the court to quash the charge sheet forming the offenses against him on grounds that it lacks focus and precision since it doesn’t show exactly the offensive words that he reportedly put on his Twitter handle.

The court was also asked to quash the charges on grounds that the court has no jurisdiction to try them because the prosecutors do not exactly state where Kakwenza allegedly committed the crimes from.

Further, they asked Buganda Road Court to refer the case file to the High Court and stay the proceedings at Buganda Road Court until the High Court determines whether Kakwenza’s rights were violated at the time he was in detention by the beatings that resulted in wounds, broken legs and scars.

However, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions through State Attorneys Joan Keko and Ivan Kyazze asked court to dismiss the case on grounds there was no supportive affidavits to show that Kakwenza had been tortured.

And on the issue of his passport, court heard that there was an unusual letter from a foreign mission, that is the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany  recommending that Kakwenza be given back his passport to enable him process visa.But the DPP had forwarded it to the Attorney General for advise on how to deal with the issue.

Concerning the charges, the Prosecutors told court to dismiss the request on the basis  that the law doesn’t require them to reproduce offensive phrases in the charge sheet adding that it was going to be adduced in evidence during trial.

In his summarized ruling read in open court on Monday  afternoon, Chief Magistrate Singiza has agreed with the Prosecutors and consequently rejected all the prayers by Kakwenza.

He noted that looking at the charge sheet, there is sufficient information to enable Kakwenza understand the crimes against him and be able to defend himself during the trial without being prejudiced.

On allegations of torture, Dr Singiza has ruled that there is no evidence of torture that was presented by Kakwenza’s lawyers in form of witnesses and affidavits supporting it and they only adduced evidence from the bar.

As such, he has dismissed all the prayers and ordered for the trial to start on March 23rd 2022.

Prior to the delivery of the ruling, Singiza informed  Kakwenza that he has been told that there are many pictures of him trending on social media allegedly showing how he was tortured which might affect dispensation  of justice in the case whose trial hasn’t started.

Singiza  advised him to do it differently and went on to read his decision.

Speaking to Uganda Radio Network about their next course of action, Kakwenza’s lawyer Nalukoola Luyimbazi has noted that they respect the court decision but  do not agree with it and therefore they are going to appeal against it in the High Court.

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