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Hungry Kaweesi murder suspect collapses in court

Some of the Kaweesi murder suspects in court in 2017.
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Justice Lydia Mugambe lost her cool Tuesday afternoon and reprimanded prison authorities after one of the suspects facing trial for the murder of former Police Spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi fainted in court cells due to hunger.

Yusuf Nyanzi fainted in the court cells as Justice Lydia Mugambe was locked up in a meeting in her chambers with the Defense lawyer, Anthony Wameli and State Prosecutor, Marion Ben Bella.

His co-accused including Sheikh Yahaya Mwanje, the former acting Amir Ummah, Muhammad Buyondo, Abdu Wahab Sendegeya, Musa Sekandi and Siraje Kalyango Jibril protested the humiliation at the hands of the State.

They shouted on top of their voices, saying they should either be hanged or convicted immediately because they have suffered enough humiliation, which attracted the attention of Justice Mugambe.

Justice Mugambe dashed from the chambers to see what was happening down stairs and discovered that Nyanzi had collapsed because of ulcers and hunger. Nyanzi, who was dressed in a brown Kanzu, lay down in pain in the court cells. Justice Mugambe directed prison authorities never to bring suspects in court on empty stomachs, saying there is no law stopping accused persons from eating.

She asked prosecution whether were ready to proceed. The State Prosecutor, Marion Ben Bella, said they needed more time to access some vital documents related to the matter. As a result, Justice Mugambe adjourned the matter to March 1st, 2019 to allow prosecution to provide the documents.

Nyanzi and his co-accused had come to the International Crimes Division of High Court for their application hearing. However, they were locked up in the court cells since morning on empty stomachs. The suspects are charged with terrorism, aiding and abetting terrorism, aggravated robbery and murder of Andrew Felix Kaweesi, his bodyguard Kenneth Erau, driver Godfrey Mambewa, Major Muhammad Kiggundu and his body guard Sargent, Steven Mukasa.

Last year, Nyanzi applied for bail through his lawyer, Wameli before Justice Jane Persis Kiggundu on ground of body weaknesses, saying he needed to get medical attention since the trial was likely to take long to commence. Justice Jane Persis Kiggundu dismissed the application on July 2nd, 2018 citing lack of medical records to prove Nyanzi’s claims.

Court also heard that Nyanzi had no permanent place of abode and his sureties were not substantial, adding that there was no proof that Summaya Namulindwa, one of the sureties was Nyanzi’s wife. Nyanzi was arrested from Zana on May 18th, 2017 and was charged before Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court on July 6th, 2017.

He was committed to International Crimes Division of High Court for trial on October 10th, 2017.



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