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Prosecutor in Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana trial reports death threats

Richard Birivumbuka, the Masaka Resident Chief State Attorney speaking to Shamim Malende shortly after court. He reported death threats over his role in prosecution of MPs Allan Ssewanya, Mohammad Ssegirinya. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Richard Birivumbuka, the Masaka Resident State Attorney has complained of receiving death threats, allegedly over his role in the prosecution of Members of Parliament Mohammad Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana.

Birivumbuka is the lead prosecutor in the trial of the two opposition MPs who are facing charges of terrorism and murder, they allegedly committed between July and August last year.

On Wednesday, he told Masaka Grade One Magistrate Philip Nzwebe that he and his family have received death threats from people he claims are connected to the two MPs.

Although Birivumbuka declined to divulge details, he requested the court to intervene and instruct the MPs to reign over their supporters by cautioning them to stop sending out the threats.

However, the suspects feigned ignorance about the allegations, arguing that the state could be using it as a tactic to justify their continued detention.

He also cried out to the court to order the prison authorities to transfer them from Kigo prison to another facility, to save them the ongoing mistreatments.

The MPs lawyer Shamim Malende told the court that while she sympathizes with the State Attorney about the threats, he is equally challenged to join the forces that are pressing the government to conduct massive sensitization of the citizens about their rights, obligations, and roles of the different stakeholders.

In his ruling, Nzwebe asked the State Attorney to report the threats to police and if necessary apply for security to ensure his safety. He also issued orders to the prisons authorities to stop any forms of mistreatment against the suspects and ordered the state to provide the court with a status of the health of the MPs on February 2, when they are expected to return to court.

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