The jailed Makindye West Member of parliament, Allan Ssewanyana and his Kawempe North counterpart, Muhammad Ssegirinya have pleaded with the Masaka Grade one Magistrate, Christine Nantege to enforce their right to bail.
The two legislators who are facing murder and terrorism charges stemming from a spate of machete attacks in the greater Masaka region have pleaded with the court to grant them temporary relief from prisons because of the chronic delays by the state to adduce evidence against them.
They appeared before the Masaka Grade One Magistrate, Christine Nantege from Kitalya prison on Tuesday via video link for further mention of the charges against them and get updates on the investigations. In a rather emotional tone, the two MPs pleaded with the court to be sympathetic and have them released on mandatory bail to enable them to attend to many pressing demands that require their direct efforts.
“Your worship, we have been in prison for so long, even when we are innocent. Our families and other relatives have gone through a lot of suffering because they were largely reliant on us for their daily survival. The investigations in the allegations against us are taking forever because there is clearly no evidence to implicate us. It is our humble prayer your worship; that court grants temporary freedom,” Ssegirinya wailed shortly after the magistrate allowed him to address the court.
He lamented that since his arrest in September last year, his parents have suffered recurrent illnesses and they are struggling to get medical care, which he could have afforded if granted temporary release. Ssegirinya indicated that their long stay in prison on remand in the absence of evidence is a violation of the principle of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
Similarly, Allan Ssewanya also raised a sorrowful appeal to the court for their release, saying that their continued remand for long is unjustifiable because the charges against them are imaginary, the reason the investigations have dragged on for so long. He asked the court to find a reason to grant them bail to enable him to attend to the health needs of his children whom he said are currently surviving on the mercy of well-wishers.
Their lawyer, Shamim Malende also expressed disappointment with the repeated prayers by the state for adjournments. She asked the court to compel the state to produce the evidence to prosecute her clients or release them on mandatory bail since they have spent six months on remand without trial.
In his response, Richard Birivumbuka, the Masaka Chief Resident State Attorney told the court that they are winding their investigations into the matter, saying he will most likely have the duo committed on their next appearance. Nantege adjourned the matter to March 10th, saying this is the last extension to allow the state to complete their investigations.
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