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State seeks more time to complete investigations in Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana trial

Shamim Malende(C) the lead defense lawyer of the accused at Masaka court. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The State is seeking more time to complete investigations into the murder charges against legislators Allan Ssewanyana and Muhammad Ssegirinya.

The two legislators were arrested and detained on charges of murder, attempted murder, and aiding and abetting terrorism, stemming from their alleged involvement in the recent killings in the greater Masaka region which claimed more than 25 lives between July and September this year.

Although they had been granted bail, they were re-arrested in separate events from the precincts of Kigo prison. But when the matter returned for further mentioning before the two presiding magistrates yesterday afternoon, Masaka Resident Chief State Attorney Richard Birivumbuka said that the state needed more time to realign its evidence.

However, Defence lawyer Shamim Malende contested the delays and asked the court to allow the legislators to seek medical attention from specialized doctors since Kigo and Kitalya prison authorities failed to give them the necessary treatment for their ailments. Ssegirinya did not appear before the court even through a zoom link, reportedly due to a deteriorating health condition.

‘…Hon Ssegirinya can’t be in court and we are aware he is in a dying state at Mulago Hospital,” Malende told the court although Birivumbuka said that the state was not aware that Ssegirinya had left Luzira Murchison bay where he was taken earlier for medical attention.

One of the presiding Magistrates, Grace Wakooli ordered the prisons authorities to allow Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana to access specialized treatment if the prison health workers can’t handle their health condition. She further adjourned the matter to November 23, 2021.

Meanwhile, Shamim Malende reported to the court that she is receiving threats from anonymous sources advising her to abandon the case. Malende added that she has received texts and calls in addition to being stalked by unknown people, complicating her life at a time when she needs to fight hard to save the two legislators.

She added that she has reported the case to Nansana police station and appealed to the court to direct the police to give her extra protection for her safety and to enable her to do her work properly.

But Malende was advised to report the matter to the police headquarters for extra police protection.

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