Court orders police in Mityana to unconditionally release a community land rights defender, and 5 others

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By witnessradio.org Team

Mityana district – A Chief Magistrate Court has ordered Mityana police headed by Maine Alex Mukono to unconditionally release six (6) people who have been held in police custody since 7th and 8th August 2019 to-date without being presented in any court of law.

The victims included; Kulumba John Sr, a community land rights defender, his wife Jane Nankabirwa, his son Kulumba John Jr, and three Minana Local Council one (LC 1) leaders namely; Muyingo Ibra, LC 1 chairperson, his vice-chairperson Ssenyanja Robert, and defense secretary, Kasule John.

This follows witnessradio.org lawyers from Kiiza & Mugisha Company Advocates to sue Mityana district police commanders Mwine Alex Mukono and the attorney general for illegally and unlawfully detaining community land rights defender plus other five people. The lawyers applied to the court for their unconditional release. 

Kulumba Sr and his wife in advanced age, suffering from Diabetes and high blood pressure, were rounded up and arrested from their marital home in Minana village while attending to their son (Kulumba Jr) who had visited them from Kampala, while the trio local leaders were rounded up and arrested at Mityana central police where they had gone to report and record a statement about the murder of one Mulinde Kamada Kimbugwe, which occurred near their village.

Late Kimbugwe before meeting his death was facing multiple criminal charges both at Mityana police and Chief magistrate court for selling land he did not own and also, selling a plot of land to multiple buyers.

Kulumba Sr and 5 others have since been framed and charged with murder by Mityana district police.

Kulumba Sr, before his arrest, has been in and out of government offices including the ministry of lands where he had been summoned several times to defend his/other people’s land ownership.

Hearing the Release Order application on August, 26th, Mityana Chief Magistrate Erias Kakooza said, police had no mandate to detain people beyond the stipulated time as per the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, thus ordered for the release of the suspects.

Article 23 (4) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda grants suspects under detention a right to be brought before the court not later than 48 hours from the time of their arrest.